Office of the President (OP)
Budgeting for Poverty Eradication Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency. The highlight of the past week was the presentation of Government’s Budget for the 2011/12 financial year before Parliament by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Kenneth Matambo. H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama was among those who attended Parliament for the presentation on Monday. His Excellency also attended Parliament on Tuesday, in order to nominate and take part in the election of Dr. Gloria Somolekae as a new Specially Elected Member. In accordance with the Constitution, Dr. Somolekae was elected by members of the house to fill the seat that was recently vacated by the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, who had resigned to take up a diplomatic appointment. Budget Address In his presentation of the 2011/12 Budget, the Hon. Minister of Finance and Development Planning underscored the Executive Branch’s continued commitment to prudent management of public revenues. Total expenditure for the coming year will be just of P 41 billion, of which P 30.3 billion is for recurrent expenses and P 10.7 is for development projects. With projected revenues of P 34.1 billion it is expected that there will be a deficit during the coming year. The revenue shortfall, which is in line with Government’s previous projections, is a reflection of the fact that the economy is still emerging from the recent global downturn. With the recovery of the mining sector and a stable growth outlook for the rest of the economy, the Minister was in a position to once more reassure his listeners that the medium term economic prospect for our country remains sound. Diamond sales in 2010 were 33 percent greater than in 2009 and are further expected to recover to pre-recession levels by 2013. In the above context, it is now forecasted that the economy will grow by 6.8 percent in 2011 and 7.1 percent in 2012 based on further projections of growth in the mining sector. In line with H.E. the President’s most recent State of the Nation Address, as well as last year’s Budget Address, the Minister further assured Parliament that Government remained committed to obtaining a balanced budget by 2013. Achieving this goal, while preserving public sector jobs and ongoing projects will, however, require continued belt-tightening, including wage restraint, in the coming year. As has been the case for many years the largest slice of the recurrent budget will go to education and training in line with Government’s sustained commitment to invest in the nation’s most precious resource – its people. Another highlight of the address was the announcement that Government will be devoting an additional P100 million drawn from the Alcohol Levy Fund to further finance its poverty eradication initiatives during the coming year. Also during the week Throughout the week His Excellency continued with his busy schedule of Ministry Briefings, meeting with the Ministries of Labour and Home Affairs; Minerals, Energy and Water Resources; Agriculture; and Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. He also found time for tone setting meetings with the recently appointed Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and Defence, Justice and Security. On Thursday afternoon the President was pleased to receive the letters of accreditation from the incoming Ambassadors of the European Union and the Republic of Ireland. Tomorrow the President will join other members of his party at a political rally in Molepolole. In other news this Office is pleased to report that His Honour the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe, continues to make good post-operative progress. At the same time we were obliged to deny a private press report that we expected him to be released from hospital this week. As we go to press he is still under care. We suspect that the report confused His Honour with Former President Sir Ketumile Masire, who was admitted and has now been discharged from hospital. Meanwhile, tomorrow His Honour the Acting Vice President, P.H.K. Kedikilwe, will Officially Open the Ebrahim and Mariam Dada Clinic in Kanye. We were also quite surprised by another newspaper report, published this week, in which it was suggested that the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi was somehow spearheading a campaign against a certain UK NGO that has been involved in issues pertaining to the CKGR. No such campaign exists. Matters pertaining to the Game Reserve, moreover, do not fall under the Hon. Minister Masisi’s portfolio of responsibilities and are otherwise being handled by other stakeholders, in particular the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.
Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency, this being our first report for the New Year. The past two weeks have been eventful as Cabinet returned from its holiday recess amid preparations for next week’s presentation of the annual Budget to Parliament. New Appointments His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, announced three new appointments to Cabinet. The Hon. Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi has been named as the new Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, replacing the Hon. Ms. Lesego Motsumi, who has left Cabinet to take up a senior diplomatic appointment. The Hon. Mr. Patrick Masimolole has been named as the new Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, replacing the Hon. Mr. Masisi. In addition, His Excellency announced that the Hon. Mr. Edwin Batsu has been appointed as the Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security. It was further announced that Mr. Newman Kahiya has been appointed as the new Secretary of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. Mr. Kahiya had previously served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. H.H. the Vice President Along with the rest of the nation, this Office’s attention and prayers in recent days has been focused on the hospitalisation of H.H. the Vice President, first at Bokomoso Hospital, initially for tests, and subsequently at Milpark Hospital in South Africa, where he underwent surgery earlier this week. Following the surgery, His Honour was visited by His Excellency, who on behalf of the nation wished him a speedy recovery. The President also took the opportunity to meet with members of the Vice President’s family and the treating physicians who briefed him further on His Honour’s post-operative progress. While the President was briefly out of the country, the Hon. Ponatshego Kedikilwe served as Acting President, representing His Excellency at this year’s opening of the legal year. As we go to press, His Honour remains in Hospital, recuperating. While he is on medical leave, the Hon. Ponatshego Kedikilwe will continue to serve as the Acting Vice President. Since His Honour’s hospitalization an unnecessary controversy has arisen in the face of persistent demands on the part of some members of the private media that this Office provide them with a fuller disclosure of medical details, which is quite simply not our prerogative. While we have been candid about the Vice President’s hospitalization, itself, we have had to maintain that the nature of the illness of any individual is a confidential matter subject to doctor-patient privilege. In as much as medical practitioners the world over have a legal and ethical duty to keep such information confidential, it would be irresponsible for any Government to trespass on said privilege, all the more so for a Government whose Constitution upholds its citizens fundamental right to privacy. Toning Up Much of His Excellency’s diary over the past two weeks has been devoted to bilateral meetings with individual Ministers, accompanied by their Permanent Secretaries to better establish the Executive Branch’s expectations for the coming year. These “tone setting” sessions have been reinforced by the resumption of fuller briefings by line Ministries and the reconvening of Cabinet. As a further exercise in tone setting, this past weekend the Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale, convened a retreat for all Permanent Secretaries in Kang in order that they could collectively introspect on the progress being made across Government towards the implementation of NDP10 and map the way forward to ensure more effective service delivery in 2011. The core objectives of the retreat were to: •Strengthen the permanent secretaries’ forum for improved collaboration, coordination, alignment and integration for efficiency, efficacy and effectiveness; •Internalise the national agenda and come up with strategies for successful implementation; and •Draw up an Action Plan for effective service delivery to the citizens. In this respect the retreat closed its fruitful deliberations by passing the following five key resolutions: 1.Rationalization of structures for effectiveness in delivery of services at both central and local government level is to be undertaken; 2.Rationalization and effective management of human resources, improvement on supervision shall be undertaken as a matter of urgency; 3.The roll out of e-government, which is a key leverage to transforming public service delivery and saving costs, shall be fast tracked; 4.Value system and leadership be continually strengthened to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services; and 5.Collaboration for improved coordination, alignment and integration shall be ensured, as this is the key to efficiency and resource optimization. During the retreat the Permanent Secretaries, in response to the President’s call for community service raised funds towards construction of a house for a needy family in Kang, to be constructed in collaboration with the local authorities. Finally, the President this week resumed his Constituency tours, addressing the Jakalas 2 Kgotla and visiting the Mabudzani, Themashanga and Siviya villages in the Tati East Constituency on Thursday.
DIGNITY IN HELPING THOSE IN NEED Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. This morning His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be in Kumakwane Village, where he will be donating food hampers and planting trees as part of this month’s Office of the President’s (OP) Community Service Day activity. In keeping with the Community Service Day initiative, each Ministry is expected to set aside one day a month to contribute to the uplifting of those in need, while promoting sustainable development. To kick-start the initiative, OP Staff last month built a two-bed roomed house for a needy individual. This month’s tree planting exercise should highlight the link between sustainable development and conserving and restoring the natural environment. In keeping with the spirit of the season, the delivery of food hampers to those with special needs in Kumakwane dovetails with additional end of year donations such as yesterday’s presentation by His Excellency Barracks of additional “Christmas Hampers” by his Excellency to the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Services (BPS), Ministry of Health and “Assist a Person” Charitable Organisation. The donations to the BDF and BPS are in keeping with the longstanding “Boy’s at the Border” tradition of bringing Christmas cheer to members of the disciplined forces who will be on duty and away from loved during the holiday season, while those going to Health are destined for some of those under medical care. Also in the season’s spirit, H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, will tomorrow host an annual Children’s Christmas Party in Mahalapye. Also this week The Office’s week included additional activities to assist the less fortunate. On Saturday the President held his own among 130 of the region’s top motorcycle enthusiasts when he participated in a Gaborone Sun sponsored Charity Event, which raised funds for the needy while promoting safety awareness. A highlight of the event was a series of stunts by top South Africa rider Brian Capper. For his part, the President impressed those in attendance when he showed off his own skills at the event, such as rising to the difficult challenge of balancing himself on a stationary motorbike. In keeping with the Offices emphasis on ensuring effective delivery through monitoring and evaluation, throughout Monday and Tuesday His Excellency’s schedule was fully engaged in providing end of year feedback to individual Ministries and Department as a follow up to their half year review exercise. His Excellency was thus represented on Monday by his Senior Private Secretary, Col. Duke Masilo, at the handover of a house built by Mr. Albert Mbayi of Kanye in response to the President’s Housing Appeal to the Needy. The house went to a previously homeless orphan, 15 year old Phenyo Godirwang, whose plight had become know to Mr. Mbayi through the Ntebogang CJSS Charity Club “Circles of Support”. At the time Mr. Godirwang was reported to be living with his uncle in a tent while attending school. Moved by the circumstance, Mr. Mbayi became one of the first members of the public to register his contribution to the Housing Appeal Board. In addition to Col. Masilo, Housing Appeal for the Needy committee member Mr. Satar Dada also attended the event, during which he pledged to fully furnish the new house. Besides Cabinet, the President’s Wednesday Calendar included his regularly scheduled Fortnightly Brief from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which included the feedback on ongoing efforts to protect the good image of Botswana’s minerals and tourism industries abroad. On Thursday morning, the President was the Guest of Honour at the opening of a new warehouse complex for CA Sales & Distributors. In his remarks for the occasion His Excellency applauded the company for is success, which has resulted in a steady and substantial growth of its workforce over the years. He also thanked the company for its active Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes, whose beneficiaries include, among others, the SOS Children’s Village, BONEPWA other HIV/AIDS Organisations, and Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns, as well as President’s own Housing Appeal for the Needy. The President went on to reaffirm Government’s belief that an enterprising and dynamic private sector must be the key engine of economic growth and development, further noting that; “We are however aware that there is some uneasiness amongst the business community with regard to the issuance of work and residents permits. Whilst we may not be moving at the expected speed in this aspect, we are equally concerned by some individuals who tend to abuse the system...Having said that, I wish to assure all investors and potential ones that Government will do everything in its power to facilitate the setting up and operation of their businesses.” Additional highlights of the week included Tuesday’s signing by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, of a new 5 Year Partnership Framework between the Governments of Botswana and the United States of America to counter the challenge of HIV/AIDS. During the ceremony the Minister observed that the US Government is the second largest contributor to the national response after the Botswana Government itself.
SECURING JWANENG'S SPARKLE Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. This morning His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be in Jwaneng for the official launch of the Jwaneng Mine Cut 8 Project. The Cut 8 Project is divided into two parts: a construction phase and an operations or waste mining phase. The construction phase, which began in 2009 and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2011, will remove vast amounts waste and relocate infrastructure in order to make the mine wider and deeper. The resulting exposure of large quantities of diamond ore is expected to extend the surface life of mine to at least 2025. The waste mining phase, which commenced earlier this year, will result in the further recovery of valuable ore. The entire project involves an investment of P 24 billion over a sixteen year period and is considered to be one of the most ambitious mineral projects on the continent. It has already creating well over a thousand new jobs, about 90% of which are held by citizens. The project is expected to further benefit the economy by drawing on the services of many small and medium sized local contractors, while spurring Jwaneng’s further growth. This afternoon, His Excellency is expected to chair a meeting of the Lady Khama Charity trust, while this evening he is scheduled to attend the annual “President’s Concert” at the Matisong Centre Tomorrow morning (Saturday) His Excellency will participate in a Charity Motor Bike Event to raise funds for various charitable organizations around the country. The event will begin at the Gaborone Sun at 0900 hours, with riders going to Phakalane and back. The week that was On Sunday the President authorized the issuing of a statement in which the Government of Botswana joined other members of the international community in congratulating Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Presidential Elections of Cote d’Ivoire. The statement further called upon all political entities within the country to respect the decision of that country’s Independent Electoral Commission, which pronounced Mr. Ouattara as the rightful winner of the Presidential runoff election with over 54% of the vote. Alluding to incumbent Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to accept the election result, the Government statement further pointed out that Botswana is deeply concerned about African leaders who reject election results that are not in their favour as such actions not only deny people the right to have leaders of their choice, but also thwart efforts to maintain peace and security on the African continent as a whole. In a radio interview with the BBC World Service “Focus on Africa” programme on Monday, His Excellency further appealed to Mr. Gbagbo to “be a true statesman and step aside”. Among the President’s other Monday activities was presiding over a meeting of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s Central Committee. On Tuesday morning the President was briefed on the status of CIC Energy, the Canadian based company with interests in Mmamabula, which is reported to have been recently acquired by the Indian conglomerate JSW Energy. He further received a quarterly progress report from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In the afternoon, the President met with representative of the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU), who had requested an audience to present their grievances and share their perspectives in the context of their recent dispute with the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) over the invigilation and marking of this year’s primary, junior and secondary leavers’ examinations. The meeting, which was also attended by the Minister of Education and Skill Development, the Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Motoi and others, concluded with all parties committed to resolving their differences amicably. Following the morning’s Cabinet meeting, on Wednesday afternoon the President met with stakeholders in the campaign against alcohol abuse, which included the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Local Government, Health, Defence, Justice and Security and the Botswana Police Services. The meeting considered the Draft National Alcohol Policy and Traditional Beer Regulations. It was further noted that feedback from across the country indicates that Batswana remain concerned about alcohol abuse and supportive of Government’s efforts to curb it. Yesterday, His Excellency toured the Boteti South Constituency, addressing the main Kgotla at Xhumo. He also met with villagers at Mmadikola, Kedia and Mokoboxane, while further attending an evening event at Mokoboxane. No to HIV Stigma Also during the week the National AIDS Coordinating Agency issued a statement reaffirming Government’s strong commitment to the elimination of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. The statement further regretted that some people on ARV treatment continue to engage in unsafe behaviours, putting themselves and others at risk. It was against this backdrop that His Honour the Vice President, Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe, recently commented on the need for individual’s to exercise responsibility in preventing new infections. It is thus unfortunate that the Vice President’s remarks have since been quoted out of context and otherwise misconstrued to imply that people living with HIV are not normal.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. This week his Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, was joined in Palapye by the Honourable Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Lesego Motsumi, and other members of Cabinet, distinguished guests and the members of the public in marking World’s AIDS Day. As one of the countries most heavily impacted by the HIV virus the annual event has come to have special significance to Batswana as an opportunity to reflect on the continued challenge of achieving the ultimate vision of realising an AIDS free society. Addressing the nation on this long term struggle, His Excellency was able to report progress, while expressing his continued deep concern on the persistence of the epidemic and its largely behavioural enablers. In terms of progress, currently up to 97% of infants born to HIV positive mothers are free of the virus. This notable achievement is in large part due to the sustained efforts Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme, whose coverage has increased from 34% of mothers in 2003 to its present level of 95%. The President also observed that, with over 151, 000 people on treatment, Botswana’s ARV programme has now succeeded in covering almost all those who have registered for assistance. As a result, according to the latest estimates, the annual number of AIDS related deaths has declined from about 15, 000 in 2003 to about 6,000 in 2010. Notwithstanding such milestones, His Excellency one more stressed the need to move beyond treatment to the collective behavioural change, based on self-responsibility and mutual accountability. In this respect, he further observed that the HIV/AIDS budget, which stood at P 1.3 billion in 2009/10, would eventually become unsustainable. Also on the President’s calendar was yesterday’s commissioning of the new Foot and Mouth Disease Laboratory of the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) Pty Ltd, which is expected to play a key role in securing the local livestock industry. The BVI, which was originally established as an emergency Government project in response outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, was incorporated as a company in 1979. Since then it has successfully developed and marketed worldwide effective livestock vaccines. The new facility has been built to ensure that BVI, as the main supplier of FMD vaccines in the region, has the capacity to meet the increasing demand for its products and services. The total cost of the project, in excess of P200 million, was raised from Capital Markets. In his remarks, the President expressed his appreciation that the new laboratory was the first of its kind in Africa, adding that: ‘When running at full capacity the new facility will double production to about 24 million doses annually of a more purified FMD vaccine. A purified vaccine enables the differentiation of FMD infected from uninfected vaccinated animals - something which has not been possible with the old vaccine because it contains impurities.” As a result, he further observed, countries using the new vaccines can become recognized “FMD free with vaccination status”, whereas with the old vaccine countries were only eligible to attain such status by means other than vaccination. The new vaccine will thus open doors for access of beef from vaccinated animals to global markets. The President’s routine engagements during the past week included briefings by the Ministries of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Infrastructure, Science and Technology, as well as the Offices of the Ombudsman and the Central Transport and meeting of Cabinet. Today, the Ministry of State Presidency through its Coordinating Office for People with Disabilities, will be spearheading Botswana’s observance of the International Day for People with Disabilities (3/12/10). The Commemoration will kick start at 0700 hours with a walk from Gaborone West Mall to Gaborone West Community Hall, where the ceremonies will take place from 0800 hours. The Keynote Address will be delivered the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration who will speaking on this year’s theme – “Keeping the Promise: Mainstreaming Disability in the Millennium Development Goals Towards 2015 and Beyond.” International Day for People with Disabilities was established by the United Nations in 1982 with the aim to promote greater understanding of disability issues. In other news, the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, the Hon. Kitso Mokaila reaffirmed that Government and local Barsarwa and Bakgalagadi communities continue to be actively engaged in resolving outstanding issues affecting the future development of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve in the context of the past High Court decisions. Speaking at a recent HATAB conference, the Minister observed that the consultations were advancing despite the efforts of a UK organisation - Survival International - to try to undermine the process. In recent interviews with various local media the Director of Survival International is reported to have admitted that his organisation has not even sought, much less obtained, the permission or input of the people they call “Bushmen” for their campaigns against Botswana.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. The week was a memorable and eventful one for the President and the country at large, characterized by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State congregating in Gaborone for the official opening of the SADC House and as well by the Chinese Vice President Mr. Xi Jingping’s historic visit to Botswana. In a speech he delivered at the official opening of the SADC House, President Khama noted that “We should remind ourselves that this building is not only owned by Governments, but also the citizens of SADC as is the organization. Like the trees we will be planting this morning, may SADC continue to grow and deliver on the expectations of the people of our nations enshrined in development with good governance and democracy leading to a life of peace and prosperity. This is also an occasion to re-dedicate ourselves to the purpose and goals of our Organisation as we chart a common future for all our citizens as we work towards a region free of poverty, disease and internal political conflicts”. At the core of the Presidents message as noted above was for SADC to deliver to the expectations of its citizens. Improving the lives of citizens has always been the hallmark of the Khama Presidency since he took office. This is evidenced in practice by his usual walkabouts which have taken him to all the four corners of the Country in his bid to better understand the needs of his people. The walkabouts have afforded President Khama the opportunity to get first hand information on the challenges people face and thus craft policies and programmes that are informed by firsthand account of the citizenry challenges. Amongst the SADC leaders who attended the official opening ceremony were Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. On Monday 22 November 2010, the Chinese Vice President Mr. Xi Jingping paid a Courtesy call on His Excellency the President during the Vice President’ historic visit to Botswana. The visit symbolized good relations between the two countries over the years. His Excellency the President took the opportunity to thank the Chinese Government for its support to Botswana’s socio-economic developments. The Chinese Government has provided loans and grants to Botswana for a number of projects. The Vice President thanked Botswana for the good relations between the two countries. He also conveyed the Chinese people and Government’s appreciation to Botswana’s recent donation to China in the wake of flood disaster that claimed lives in china. Vice President Xi Jingping was hosted by Botswana’s Vice President Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe. At the luncheon for Vice President Xi Jingping, Vice President Lt Gen Merafhe noted as follows: “I am pleased to note from our discussions this morning that, Botswana and China remain committed to maintaining a strong and common vision of promoting and nurturing our bilateral relations. While I appreciate the fact that bilateral cooperation between our two countries remains excellent, I believe there is scope for enhanced collaboration for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples”. After Vice President Xi Jingping’s courtesy call, President Khama held his quarterly Ministerial briefing with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, followed by a meeting with some Bakgatla elders who briefed him about the recent developments in Mochudi. On Tuesday HE held a Ministerial Brief with the Ministry of Local Government. On Wednesday, HE attended weekly cabinet meeting before he toured the Serowe North East constituency to address Kgotla Meetings. The Kgotla Meetings started at Majwanaadipitse at 1430 hrs and thereafter proceeded to Serowe where there was an evening event. On Thursday, still in the Serowe North East constituency, HE addressed Kgotla meetings at Gojwane and Moreomabele. Friday morning, HE attended the Brand Botswana Launch at the ‘peoples’ Gaborone Bus Rank. The idea behind the launch was to give Batswana a clear understanding of what the national identity programme aims to achieve, how they can contribute to its success and to educate the public on some of the elements of Brand Botswana such as the logo and the tagline. Thereafter, His Excellency received quarterly Ministerial briefing from the Ministry of Information Science and Technology, concluding the week that was. BGCIS
Our Stripes are showing Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. The emotional highlight the past week was certainly Wednesday’s AFCON qualifier victory over Tunisia, which once more proved that, contrary to nature, Zebras can become apex predators. H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama, along with former President Sir Ketumile Masire and other luminaries, including Miss World Africa Emma Wareus, joined the sold-out crowd at UB stadium in cheering on the men in AK blue to another convincing Group K triumph. Hours before the match, the latest global FIFA rankings had been released, ranking the Zebras 67 in the world, up a total of 38 places since last July. This weekend Gaborone will be hosting international excitement of a different kind with the arrival of regional Heads of State and Government for the Official Opening of the new SADC Headquarters. In addition, the nation will be honoured to receive the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, H.H. Xi Jinping, who will arrive in Botswana tomorrow for a two day Official Visit at the invitation of H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe. This follows His Honour’s visit to China in July of this year, where he championed Botswana investment opportunities at the Shanghai Expo. Also this week As anticipated in our previous edition, last Friday the President travelled to Katima Mulimo in the Caprivi Strip, at the invitation of his Namibian counterpart, H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba. There the two leaders were also joined by the Presidents of Zambia, H.E. Rupiah Banda, and Zimbabwe, H.E. Robert Mugabe, to witness the commissioning of the Caprivi Link Power Sub Station that will service all four nations. In his remarks at the event, President Khama commended President Pohamba, and his Government for their visionary leadership in championing the project at considerable cost. On Friday evening the President attended the annual fundraising dinner of the Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS), of which he is the patron. The event was addressed by former Mozambican President H.E. Joaquim Chissano who lauded the efforts of Government and NGOS like the KCS in ensuring that Botswana over the years had given priority to the conservation of its natural heritage and biodiversity. On Saturday, His Excellency addressed members of his ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the launch its “Domi ke Yame” national recruitment campaign. This past Monday morning, the President chaired Cabinet. Now that Parliament is in session Cabinet meets at least twice a week, on Wednesdays as well as Mondays. He also received briefings from the Ombudsman and Ministries of Defence, Justice and Security and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. On Tuesday, His Excellency visited Rainbow international School in Gaborone West, where he addressed students on the importance of self-discipline in achieving one’s ambitions, expressing his own hope that: “…each of you has by now seen the value of discipline in your own lives; that you have already experienced the first hand joy of instances where you succeeded, either in the classroom or elsewhere, because you pushed yourself, sacrificing short term comfort to make that extra effort.” In his remarks the President further observed that besides being about what one can achieve for oneself, social discipline should also guide us in our consideration of others, adding that: “Here let me say that in this country we ought to overcome the notion that traditional norms of respect are part of our past and not our future. Last month I visited Japan, a country whose technological development is second to none in the world. Yet in their everyday lives Japanese people of all walks of life interact with one another in accordance with their own timeless manners. Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of practicing our time honoured cultural norms based on our common humanity.” During the visit His Excellency also reiterated his State of the Nation Address pledge to ensure that world class achievers, such as Commonwealth Gold Medallist Amantle Montsho and Emma Wareus are rewarded by Government with appropriate sponsorships of their choice. Yesterday, the President spent the morning chairing an Economic Committee of Cabinet that was convened to receive the 21st Progress Report of the Cabinet Committee on Economy and Employment, which focused on the progress of the Agriculture, Diamond and Health Hubs. The meeting was also updated on the Mmamabula Energy Project and progress reports by various Ministries toward achieving action items that form part of Botswana’s Excellence Strategy for sustainable economic diversification. With respect to the Diamond Hub, it was noted that as of the end of September DTC Botswana sales stood at about 16.7 billion pula, up from about 12.7 billion pula for the entire 2009. Even more encouraging was the news that DTC sales to local cutting and polishing factories so far stood at roughly 2.8 billion pula for the year, as compared to 1.3 billion for the whole of last year. Progress towards achieving the ambitious goals of the Botswana Excellence Strategy is also expected be at the top of the agenda at today’s meeting of the Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC), whose biannual meetings are also chaired by the President.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Today H.E. the President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama will be travelling to Katima Molimo in the Caprivi Strip, at the invitation of his Namibian counterpart, H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The leaders will be attending the commissioning of the Caprivi Link Power Sub Station, which will service Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as Namibia, as part of SADC’s regional response to energy shortages. The highlight of the past week was the President’s comprehensive State of the Nation Address, which was delivered at Monday’s opening of the 2nd Session of the Republic’s 10th Parliament. In keeping with its theme of “Delivering People Centred Development” much of the address focused on empowering the youth, rural poor and other disadvantaged groups, such as people living with disabilities. In particular the President highlighted Government’s renewed moral commitment to eradicate absolute poverty, with an emphasis on people centred development through local enterprise, noting that: “Our determination to end poverty is thus tied with an undertaking to create additional opportunities for employment and income generation, more especially among the youth and rural poor. We do not want a situation in this country whereby the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We must rather strive as a nation try to move up the ladder of opportunity together, not leaving others behind.” Observing that his Administration’s overarching development goal remains the transformation of Botswana into a high income economy that ensures the well-being of all, he further challenged fellow Batswana to “accept the responsibility of self-empowerment by setting and achieving globally competitive standards of excellence for ourselves.” The President stressed that the recent global economic downturn, from which we are now emerging, has put an additional burden on Government finances, adding that it is thus necessary to replace over dependence on finite state resources with sustainable private sector wealth creation, through citizen empowering entrepreneurship that combines global openness with local self-reliance. Consistent with Government’s flagship programmes of poverty eradication and economic diversification with citizen empowerment, much of the Address highlighted various initiatives targeting the youth, agriculture and food security, local procurement and the economic sector “Hubs”, as well as progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, such as the universal provision of water, shelter, electricity, health and education, as well as securing the environment. The President also spoke of Government actions to meet the ongoing regional energy crisis, through its P 3 billion investment in emergency power supplies, as well as medium term efforts to transform Botswana into a regional energy as well as transport hub. In terms of sports and recreation His Excellency was pleased to report that a total of 44,180 players (33195 football, 6071 netball, 4914 volleyball) and 2851 teams (1945 football, 515 netball, 355 volleyball) participated in this year’s Cycle 6 constituency sports tournaments, with Cycle 7 ongoing. Another 8,200 people competed in the Traditional Games, which have now become an integral part of District Sport Festivals. The President also took the opportunity to commend Batswana who have excelled on the world stage, singling out Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Amantle Montsho and 2010 Miss World First Princess Emma Wareus for individual praise. Also this week In other events, the President continued with his busy schedule of consultations with communities throughout the country. On Sunday he interacted with residents at Modipane village, while he spent much of Wednesday and Thursday in the Mahalapye East constituency, addressing kgotla and greeting people at Pala-Road, Shakwe, Taupye and Xhosa Ward. As he had observed during Monday’s Address: “As a government of, by and for the people, we must in our delivery at all times be engaged with the people. As has been the case since time immemorial, the Kgotla remains our bedrock for dialogue. It is for this reason that members of Cabinet, and I, have made Kgotla attendance, in communities large and small, a routine part of our work schedules.” On the international front His Excellency met with visiting World Bank Vice Chairperson Obi Eze-Kwisili. Among other things, the two discussed Botswana’s ongoing Public Finance Management Reform Programme. During the week the President also met with the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E. Barbara Richardson, and convened an inter-ministerial meeting to ensure that stakeholders follow up on opportunities arising from his recent Official Visit to Japan. As part of his continuous quarterly Ministerial briefings, His Excellency received reports from divisions and independent agencies falling under the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi. These included Disaster Management, the Office for People with Disabilities, Information and Broadcasting Services, Public Service Management (DPSM), the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) and Office of the Ombudsman, as well as National Assembly management. This evening the President will attend the annual fundraising dinner of the Kgalagadi Conservation Society, of which he is the patron. The event will be addressed by former Mozambican President H.E. Joaquim Chissano whose theme is “2010- The International Year of Biodiversity Conservation- A call for stakeholder participation”. Tomorrow morning, His Excellency will return to Mahalapye to launch “Domi ke Yami” the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) latest national recruitment campaign. Earlier in the week the President also met with BDP Youth.
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