Office of the President (OP)
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. This past week H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama travelled to Tokyo with the message that Botswana is well placed to serve as a central gateway for Japanese businesses wishing to enter the Central and Southern African markets. During his four day Official Visit His Excellency’s message of Botswana being open for business was conveyed through the Japanese media as well as in engagements with government and business leaders, including meetings with the Japanese Business Federation and Association of Corporate Executives. Acknowledging that our country’s landlocked status has in the past posed a challenge to investors who were otherwise attracted by our political stability and business friendly environment, the President repeatedly informed receptive audiences of ongoing efforts to transform Botswana into a regional transport and energy hub capable of servicing the SADC market of over 250 million. Botswana’s potential as Asia’s gateway to the Southern Africa market was also the theme of a well attended Investment Roundtable, which was hosted by the Business Federation. In addition to keynote remarks by the President, presentations were made at the forum by the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Hon. Dorcus Makgato-Malesu, the CEO of BEDIA, Mr. Jacob Nkate, and the General Manager of BCL Ltd., Mr. Montwedi Mphathi, as well as the President of the Japanese Oil, Gas and Metals National Company, Mr. Hirobumi Kawano. The last speaker informed the forum about the Geological Remote Sensing Centre in Lobatse, which is using satellite imaging for minerals exploration. Besides attracting senior executives from major Japan based corporations, the interactive two hour session was covered by the press including the Japan’s National Broadcaster - NHK. During the visit the President and members of his delegation also found time to give additional interviews to Japanese media. A symbolic highlight of the Official Visit occurred at the beginning of the visit when His Excellency was given the rare honour of an audience with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito. At a political level the President and members his delegation, which also included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Hon. Phandu Skelemani, engaged in a series of bilateral meetings with their Japanese counterparts, which included Official Talks with the Japanese Prime Minister Kan. Prime Minister Kan opened the summit by expressing his government’s appreciation for Botswana’s record of political stability and economic growth, further emphasising Japan’s desire to enhance bilateral relations through business to business as well as government to government contacts. He further pledged his support for Botswana’s “robust economic development”. For his part President Khama expressed his own appreciation for the friendship and support that Japan has extended to Botswana since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1966. Additional areas of discussion included potential cooperation in transportation, broadcasting, business promotion, and reform of multilateral institutions. President Khama also met with the former Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Yukio Hatoyama, who remains an influential political figure. During their discussions Khama thanked Hatoyama for his decision, while still head of government, to make Botswana eligible for Japanese Overseas Development Assistance as part of the TICAD 4 process, notwithstanding our country’s middle income status. For his part Hatoyama stated that Botswana’s record as a model of democracy in Africa was a foundation for closer economic as well as political ties. He further expressed his confidence that the President’s visit would promote greater win-win cooperation in areas such as energy, minerals and technology, including green technology. The President also hosted a luncheon for a number of Japanese parliamentarians, who expressed their desire to revive inter-parliamentary contacts. The Japanese legislators held further discussions on the topic with the Member of Parliament for Francistown West, the Hon. Tshelang Masisi. In other engagements the President met with the head of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Madame Sadako Ogata, who affirmed her organisation’s continued commitment to assist Botswana. He also took time to meet with three Batswana students – Mr. Ame Selepeng, Mr. Tirelo Moepswa and Ms. Itumeleng Seitshiro, who are all doing post-graduate studies in mining related subjects at Akiti University, as well as brief members of the press who were covering the trip. Culturally, the tour hit its high note on Tuesday evening, when His Excellency was the guest of honour at a Botswana Music and Dance Night, which took place before a sold out crowd at the Akasaka Civic Centre in central Tokyo. The entertainment extravaganza featured Banjo Mosele’s band, who were joined for most of their performance by the legendary Japanese saxophonist Sadao Watanabe. The concert was opened by the Dipela tsa ga Kobokwe dance troupe from Molepolole. Following the show the President was pleased to invite Watanabe and Mosele to continue their musical collaboration in Botswana. Throughout the week Dipela tsa ga Kobokwe also performed at the Botswana Art and Diamond Exhibition at Tokyo’s Oazo centre, while Banjo Mosele appeared at the Calabash, the city’s leading African theme nightspot. The Visit ended on Wednesday morning when the President departed aboard OK 1, arriving home on Thursday.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Last week was ‘the week that was’ when His Excellency the President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama paid a State visit to South Africa and held substantive discussions with His Excellency President Jacob Zuma of South African. “My visit to South Africa is indeed a clear demonstration of the excellent relations that subsist between our two countries and as long as I am in office I will do my best to build upon them”, noted H.E. President Khama. “Your Excellency, Africa has made significant progress in terms of democratisation. Botswana has been a good example of how good governance can contribute to economic development of the country. Botswana’s democracy is a clear indication that the African Renaissance vision which we share so passionately is achievable” pointed out President Jacob Zuma, reinforcing further the world acclaimed view that Botswana is a beacon for democracy. On Monday morning, President Khama met with the Japanese Ambassador. The discussions centred around the upcoming visit to Japan by His Excellency the President from the 15th to the 21st October 2010. Thereafter His Excellency the President attended the official opening of the three day Youth Pitso at GICC. The Youth Pitso discussed a wide range of youth issues largely on Youth Policies and Programmes, Youth and Leadership, Youth and Financial Management, Youth and alcoholism and drug abuse etc. In the afternoon, President Khama attended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation Fortnightly briefs. In this particular brief, the highlight was on international issues and updates, in order to respond promptly to safeguard Botswana’s international interests. On Tuesday President Khama held Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism Ministerial briefs. The quarterly Ministerial briefing discussed among others, vacancy rates, budget utilization, service delivery, the Ministries’ senior officials’ local and international trips, Government initiatives to mention but a few. Come Wednesday morning, President Khama travelled to Zambia and Tanzania for bilateral discussions with the Zambian and Tanzanian Heads of States to foster cooperation between these neibour states. His Excellency visited Zambia in the morning before proceeding to Tanzania in the afternoon. He returned home in the afternoon of the same day. On Thursday President Khama was briefed by the Ministry of Lands and Housing. The presentation was on progress by same Ministry on their performance for 2nd Quarter (April to September 2010). The presentation also touched on the implementation of Government initiatives, land delivery, housing delivery and other key result areas. In the afternoon, President Khama continued with his ‘meet the press’ initiatives having been interviewed by a number of local newspapers in the past. This time around he had a wide ranging interview with the Mirror newspaper. On Friday he was treated to Ministerial briefs by the Ministry of Education. The brief interrogated key education policy issues that included: the relevance of our Education and Training given the ever changing economic demands; Access and equity in Education and Training; expansion of Junior Secondary schools; Reparation of burnt schools and structural defects; maintenance of facilities; financial management; human resources management; implementation of the Public Service Act and other issues. Thereafter he held a meeting with Permanent Secretaries. The meeting afforded His Excellency the President an opportunity to interact with the Permanent Secretaries in discussing among others, impediments to Government’s delivery of services and strategies to improve Government service delivery. On Tuesday, Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Hon Mokgweetsi Masisi delivered a key note address on the occasion of the national Productivity Convention held at Phakalane Golf estate. Hon Masisi impressed upon and encouraged participants with this thought provoking words: “Director of Ceremonies, let me hasten to add that for institutions and organizations to remain resilient and buoyant, there must be a desire to change and embrace new ways of doing things. You simply cannot do more or differently using the same effort and techniques - change is an inevitable prerequisite for improvement. Classical examples of where such changes have worked effectively are in Japan and Singapore whose economies were transformed in a big way. In this regard, let me remind you that investors will not come to set up in a country where levels of productivity are very low as depicted in the recently launched Global Competitive Report where bad work ethics are identified as one of the major challenges when doing business in this country. I sincerely hope that all of us will play our part to ensure that this issue is addressed once and for all”. In sum, Inside the Presidency would like to congratulate the Botswana Commonwealth Team that is representing the country in the ongoing Commonwealth Games. We would in particular like to mention our Golden Girl Amantle Montsho for not only winning the country’s first ever gold medal at the Commonwealth games, but as well for setting a new record for the games with a time of 50.10 seconds. BGCIS
Last Saturday H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama interacted with residents on a walkabout of the Bontleng and Old Naledi neighbourhoods of Gaborone South, accompanied by the constituency MP Kagiso Molatlhegi. The visit was an opportunity for the President to reacquaint himself with the challenges facing the economically challenged communities. Among the shortfalls that were noted for action were continued health and safety hazards arising from insufficient sewerage. His Excellency also joined residents at Old Naladi in watching a constituency football tournament game. These tournaments, along with additional youth oriented competitions in other areas, have been credited with providing a healthy outlet for their ever increasing number of participants. This week the Minister for Youth Sport and Culture, the Hon. Shaw Kgathi, further lauded the tournaments, while responding to misleading reports that the competitions threaten the Botswana Football Association’s (BFA) FIFA accreditation. At a well attended press conference he revealed that the misunderstanding had been generated by distortions emanating from within the BFA itself, apparently having originated as an ill-conceived attempt to press Government into allowing them to run the initiative. On Monday the President chaired a meeting of his party’s Central Committee. Later in the day he accepted the credentials of the incoming diplomatic envoys from Rwanda, H.E. Mr. Ignatius Karegersa Kamali and Finland, H.E. Mrs. Tiina Myllyntausta. On Tuesday, he had the further pleasure of receiving credential from, and exchanging views with H.E. Dr. Ali Yousif Ahmed of Sudan, H.E. Mr. Mario L. De Leon Jr. the Philippines, H.E. Mr. D. Wijesinghe of Sri Lanka:, and H.E. Mr. Joseph Andre Nourrice of the Seychelles. During these exchanges, the Rwandan envoy observed that, as a newly democratic country emerging from civil strife, his country was eager to learn from Botswana’s example of peaceful nation building, more especially in terms of the prudent management of resources through accountable governance. In response, His Excellency acknowledged Rwanda’s own impressive efforts towards reconciliation and recovery since emerging from its recent chapter of genocide. Additional courtesy calls on the President during the week included a meeting with the Managing Director of Barclays’ Bank, Mr. Wilfred Mpayi. On Thursday, the President travelled to Tswapong North, where he participated in a Kgotla Meeting at Maunatlala and visited the communities of Mosweu, Gootau and Malaka. Also on Thursday, H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, officiated at a groundbreaking ceremony for destitute housing project at Moshaneng village in the Kanye North Constituency, which represented another milestone in the ongoing Housing Appeal for the Needy. The project is sponsored by Barclays’ Bank working with Habitat for Humanity and the Village Development Committee. Tomorrow, His Honour will leave for New York, where he will address the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly and a Review Summit on the Millennium Development Goals. While at the UN he will also address special roundtable meetings on the needs of the most vulnerable and combating HIV/AIDS. Also during the week, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, briefed the Gaborone City and Sowa Authority Councils on the “Botswana Excellence Strategy”, which is Government’s blueprint for promoting sustainable economic growth through diversification. The consultative meetings were a continuation of the Minister's outreach campaign to ensure that local authorities as key stakeholders are aware of how the strategy can promote grass roots development in their communities. During her visits the Minister has also been addressing Government workers in the context of the new Public Service Act. The Office this week also issued a media briefing that underscored some of the underlying reasons behind Government’s reluctance to distribute condoms in prison, an idea which is being promoted by some as an antidote HIV-transmission among inmates. While acknowledging that there exists differing views on the matter, the release noted that health professionals involved in correctional services worldwide, as well as locally, remain sceptical about of the benefits of such distribution. Where condoms have been introduced the outcomes have been globally unconvincing. Thus in the USA, for example, as of this year only ten correctional systems (out of several thousand ) allow for their distribution, despite the existence of many pilot programmes dating back to the 1980s. Like Botswana it also remains the law in most jurisdictions that sexual relations between male inmates is forbidden. This is because, in addition to moral reservations, such encounters are viewed by responsible authorities as a threat to well being of the incarcerated under their supervision, given the generally coerced nature of such encounters. Consistent with local opinion, most correctional institutions worldwide are therefore unwilling to send conflicting messages by allowing for the condom distribution, while at the same time undertaking disciplinary interventions aimed at reducing if not eliminating the scourge of forcible sodomy among their wards.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Having spent part of his Saturday participating in a charity sporting event, H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, arrived at the UB stadium in time to cheer on the galloping Zebras in their victory over the Sparrow Hawks of Togo. Botswana sports made additional global headlines over the weekend when Amantle Montsho won the 400m race with a season best of 49.89 at the IAAF continental Cup Tournament in Croatia. The weekend's other big event took place at Jakalas no. 1, where H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, along with the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, and other dignitaries launched Vision 2016 awareness month. In his keynote remarks, His Honour called on communities to join hands with Government in supporting initiatives that contribute to the eradication of poverty, citing the example is in Moshupa village where residents led by Kgosi Mosielele are directly involved in various projects such as horticulture development and providing shelter for the less privileged. He further noted that Government was planning to launch an inclusive "Pitso ya go Nyeletsa Lehuma" next month to engage key stakeholders in finalizing a roadmap for poverty eradication. Meanwhile in the nearby Tonota North constituency voters steamed to the polls in relatively high numbers to give the ruling party an overwhelming victory in what many media commentators had previously predicted would be a close contest. At the beginning of the week His Excellency received a quarterly briefing from the Ministry of Labour and Homes Affairs, whose highlights included notable improvements in the turnaround time for most Ministry services, including: 2 days for passports, 10 days for visas, 15 days for Omang; and 60 days for work and resident permits. The Ministry reported further progress in its promotion of Industrial Harmony measures and fight against corruption. During the week His Excellency was also briefed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications on their progress in simplifying the categorization of driver's licences On Monday afternoon His Excellency had the pleasure of meeting with representative of C.A. Sales, who pledged their support for his ongoing Housing Appeal for the Needy. On Tuesday the President, along with his Ministers, attended a full meeting of the Southern District Council in Kanye as part of the executive's initiative to take Cabinet to the Councils. This was the fourth such meeting, following previous joint meetings with the Francistown, Gaborone and Kweneng District Councils. In his opening remarks in Kanye, the His Excellency noted that he and the rest of Cabinet greatly valued their interaction with the Local Authorities, observing that the latter have their hand on the pulse of everyday life at the community level and therefore a good understanding of the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve. He further noted that while it was the role of Central Government is to finalise policies and strategic interventions in consultation with the local Authorities, their success in implementation depended on their ownership at community level. His Excellency observed that due to the constrained economic situation Government, including the Local Authorities, must exercise maximum prudence in their financial management and become more proactive and creative in engaging their constituents in assume greater responsibility for activities in their localities, including initiatives to eradicate poverty. He therefore implored Local Authorities to prioritise stimulating economic growth within their jurisdictions. Concern was also expressed that community participation and mobilization in development has been waning, while the spirit of self help which had laid a solid foundation for nation building at independence and thereafter needed to be revived as reliance on Government is neither desirable nor sustainable. Also during the week, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration briefed the Southern and Kgalagadi District Councils on the "Botswana Excellence Strategy", which is Government's blueprint for sustainable growth through economic diversification. The interactive meetings were a continuation of a public awareness campaign that will eventually take the Minister to all of the country's City, Town and District Councils. During her tour the Minister is also addressing civil servants throughout the country, in the context of the ongoing implementation of the new Public Service Act. Tomorrow morning, from 0900 hours, H.E. the President is scheduled visit and interact with residents in the Gaborone South Constituency. His tour is expected to take him to Bontleng, Babuse and Naledi Wards. Also scheduled for tomorrow, the Vice President will officiate at the Makaleng Ward Victory Celebrations.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Following last week’s Cabinet recess, H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, returned to a busy official schedule this week of meetings, diplomatic engagements and public events. Highlights of His Excellency’s Monday included a morning meeting with the visiting Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Pascal Lamy, and his delivery of a keynote address at the launching of the Second Phase of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP). His Excellency’s discussions with the Director General focused on WTO’s efforts to counter tariff escalations affecting developing countries such as Botswana. During the talks, as well as at a subsequent press conference, Mr. Lamy emphasised that inter-regional trade protocols, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement with European Union, should not lead to preference erosion for such commodities as Botswana’s beef and textile exports. The Director General further called on developed countries to ensure that their agricultural subsidies do not undermine food production and security in the developing world. In his keynote address at the ACHAP Second Phase Launch, President Khama reminded the audience that HIV/AIDS remains the greatest health and development challenge currently facing Botswana, citing its negative impact on the country’s life expectancy, economic growth and ability to address many social needs. Given the extent of the challenge, he further expressed his gratitude and appreciation that, through the continued generosity of the Merck and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, Botswana’s response to HIV/AIDs will receive an additional five years of support from the initiative. On Monday afternoon His Excellency received and accepted the resignation of the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, the Hon. Dikgakgamatso Seretse, who acting on his own conscience wished to step aside while facing a misconduct allegation. To fill the unexpected vacancy, the President has appointed the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, to assume the additional responsibility of the Defence, Justice and Security portfolio. Earlier in the afternoon H.E. the President also accepted credentials from the new resident Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Annet Gunther Another Monday highlight was the official opening of the 16th Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference in Gaborone by H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe. In his keynote remarks His Honour reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the liberalization of the domestic air transport market in order to provide greater opportunities for the establishment and operation of local private carriers. He further reaffirmed Government’s keen interest in entering into Bilateral Air Services Agreements on international routes, noting that such instruments have already been signed with 14 countries in anticipation of the expanded Sir Seretse Khama International Airport’s capacity to serve as a regional aviation hub. On Tuesday morning His Excellency chaired a special meeting of the Economic Committee of Cabinet whose focus was on the implementation by Ministries and Departments of action plans arising from Botswana Excellence Strategy. At the end of the meeting there was general recognition that the Strategy should be rebooted, more especially by ensuring greater public awareness and engagement in achieving its ambitious goal of elevating Botswana to higher income status through sustainable and equitable economic growth. There was also a degree satisfaction that all Ministries were now committed and in many areas making progress towards delivering on their individual mandates. To ensure sustained progress it was agreed that Strategy delivery will become a standing item in future Economic Committee meetings. As part of the Presidency’s own commitment to promote broader stakeholder engagement on the Botswana Excellence Strategy, Minister Motsumi will today address the Ghanzi District Council as the first stop on a tour that will eventually take her to all of the country’s city, town and district Councils. As usual much of Wednesday was taken up by Cabinet deliberations. In the afternoon His Excellency also received the credentials of the new resident South African High Commissioner, H.E. Lenin Magiwane Shope On Thursday, His Excellency toured the Okavango Constituency, addressing kgotla meetings at Eretsha, Xakao, and Ghani, before returning to Xakao for an evening event. Also on Thursday H.H. the Vice President addressed a kgotla meeting at Mabule in the Ngwaketse West Constituency and toured the Banyana Farms project in the Kgalagadi District. Today His Excellency will receive a quarterly briefing from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, which is expected to review such critical issues as Citizen Economic Empowerment and taxation. Thereafter he will proceed to the Tonota North constituency to attend an election eve rally at Sebina. This weekend’s highlights will include Saturday’s launch by Vice President Merafhe of the annual Vision 2016 Awareness Month, which is being held this year at Jackalas Number 1 village in the North East.
Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. As anticipated in our previous edition, last Friday H.E. President Khama hosted a reception for resident and non-resident Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations accredited to Botswana. In his address to the diplomats, His Excellency noted that Botswana was now recovering from the worst effects of the global economic downturn. He further informed them of Government efforts to transform Botswana into a higher income economy that provides for the wellbeing of all its citizens through implementation of the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth. Observing that the Strategy provided an enabling framework for business partnerships, the President affirmed that foreign as well as domestic investors can be assured of his administration’s commitment to building a more open society with an open economy in which all who can make a positive contribution are encouraged to do so. He also noted that Government was redoubling its efforts to overcome the nation’s pressing social challenges, including poverty eradication. Over the weekend the President, as party leader, took part in a BDP Leadership meeting. In his opening address, he urged delegates to rise above any petty differences, stressing that it was time for introspection and mutual understanding. His message of tolerance and teambuilding was reiterated by H.H. Vice President Merafhe. On Saturday evening, the Vice President was the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind. Voicing particular appreciation of the Centre’s efforts to train the visually impaired as participants in Botswana’s emerging knowledge based economy, His Honour informed the gathering that Government would continue to provide funds to the Centre. Leading by example, he appealed to the private sector and public to also support the Centre by raising P13 million it needed for the development of a rehabilitation centre. On Monday the President departed for Windhoek, where he took part in this year’s Jubilee Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government. Prior to its opening, Ministers and officials had considered a wide range of agenda items for the Summit, including food security, natural resource policy, security cooperation, challenges to trade, finance and investment and social, including gender, issues. The Summit ended late Tuesday with the leaders pledging to continue SADC’s regional peace and security efforts, with particular reference to ongoing conflict resolution measures in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Lesotho and the DRC. To address the challenge of food security, the Summit endorsed the African Food Basket Initiative, while further agreeing to establish a Regional Poverty Observatory that will facilitate the implementation of the SADC Declaration on Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development. Observing that all of their countries were still recovering from the global economic crisis, during their deliberations the leaders also considered common policy measures to cushion the region from future downturns. Among the Summit’s highlights was the bestowing of the Sir Seretse Khama SADC Medal on Zambia’s first President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, in recognition of his immense contributions to the political and economic emancipation of the region and Africa as a whole. In addition to Cabinet, the remainder of His Excellency’s week was devoted to internal consultations, including quarterly briefings from the Ministries of Youth, Sport and Culture, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy Shelter is a prerequisite for any individual to live a dignified life. Yet there remains an urgent need for destitute housing in our country. While the provision of housing and other social services remains a Government priority, in the spirit of Ipelegeng there are others in the community who can, and indeed have, been lending a helping hand. Encouraged by recent contributions from the private sector, His Excellency the President is now appealing to Batswana in their individual and collective capacities, as groups and as companies, to contribute further towards construction of houses for the needy. In keeping with the national long-term vision, the goal of this initiative is to ensure that all citizens, wherever they may live, have proper shelter by 2016. To facilitate this effort, a Housing for the Needy Appeal Committee has been established, whose members include the President’s Senior Private Secretary, Duke Masilo. Consistent with the principles of accountability and transparency, the committee will routinely publish in this newspaper a register of those who have pledged to build such houses in order to inform the public on the initiative’s progress.
His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama participated in a full day of public events on Saturday, beginning with the morning’s well attended celebrations of the 126 Anniversary of the Botswana Police Service at the Molepolole Sports Complex. There he joined other spectators in appreciating a rich variety of entertainment and athletics displays by local community groups, as well as members of the Police Service. As part of the celebrations, on the previous day His Excellency had also adorned 232 officers with various categories of medals for distinguished, meritorious and long service, as well as good conduct. On Saturday afternoon the President received, on behalf of Government, a new community health clinic to serve the residents of Molepolole’s Boswelakoko ward, which was donated by the A.S. Dada Foundation. Noting that the Clinic was the third such health facility to be built and handed over by the Foundation, the President commended donation, constructed at a cost of some 2 million pula, as an example of a successful citizen entrepreneurs giving back to the community. He further noted that the gesture comes at a time when Government has had to make difficult choices in prioritizing expenditure due to the global economic recession; resulting in many projects including clinics, being deferred until resources are available. As such the generosity of the A.S. Dada Foundation was especially timely. Welcoming the Foundation’s pledge to build a half dozen houses for the destitute, as well as an additional clinic, the President took the opportunity to also appeal to able Batswana as individuals, groups and as companies, to contribute further towards construction of houses for the needy. In this respect he announced that he would be launching an initiative to encourage additional private sector participation in providing such shelter. An immediate example of such social responsibility was demonstrated by the construction company Caitec Botswana, which later in the afternoon provided a family with a fully furnished three bedroom house, also in Molepolole, with His Excellency presenting the keys to the grateful recipients. On Monday His Excellency’s morning was occupied with a briefing on the upcoming SADC Jubilee Summit and a quarterly progress of the Ministry of Transport and Communication. The President also met with Shoshong MP Phillip Makgalemele, who informed him of his return to the ranks of the ruling party, reversing the MP’s earlier decision to cross the floor. In the afternoon His Excellency welcomed Zambian President, H.E. Rupiah Banda, who had arrived for a two day State Visit. In the evening the two leaders met and dined together at State House. The next day they travelled to the Central District where they were joined by other dignitaries, including H.H. the Vice President, for the opening of the new Serowe Institute of Health Services. In his remarks as the event’s Guest of Honour, President Banda was effusive in his praise of Botswana’s record of providing infrastructure for the development of its citizens. The Zambian President later laid a wreath on the grave of the late first President, Sir Seretse Khama, who is remembered for his regional leadership. Besides Cabinet, Wednesday’s schedule was notable for the evening broadcast of an extended interview with His Excellency on BTV and Radio Botswana, which covered a wide range of domestic and regional issues. On Thursday the President addressed a series of Kgotla meetings with residents of Kotolaname, Kubung, Gakgatla and Mmankgodi, all in the Kweneng South Constituency. Today His Excellency is expected to be briefed by H.H. the Vice President on such issues as Government’s ongoing commitment to eradicate poverty and diversify the economy. Thereafter he will host a reception for resident and non-resident diplomats accredited to Botswana, during which he will make a statement on Botswana’s domestic and global status. The President is also scheduled to chair a meeting of the BDP Central Committee in preparation for this weekend’s party retreat. Also during the week the Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale, issued a press statement firmly dismissing a newspaper report that the Attorney General might be soon replaced. Among other things, the statement expressed concern that the publication failed to verify its report before spreading misinformation about such a high constitutional, which by its own admission was based on nothing more than an alleged rumour. During the week the Office further dismissed another newspaper’s innuendo that advanced payment had been made to a motor company for an unspecified number of vehicles. It was noted that, in fact, the payment was only made after the specified delivery of 105 Land Rovers for the BDF.
This past week began with the Office receiving pleasant news of the achievements of local athletes at the 17th Confederation of Africa Athletics Championships, which had ended over the weekend in Nairobi. At the competition Botswana placed 7th in the overall medals count with two gold and one silver medal. Amantle Montsho won the women’s 400m race, having little trouble defending the title she also won two years ago. Also successfully defending his previous title was Kabelo Kgosiemang, who took first place in the men’s high jump, while Botswana’s silver came in the men’s 4X400m relay. Batswana had also been serious contenders for additional medals H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, was delighted to note the overall good performance of local athletes, which provides an encouraging precedent for future competitions, including ongoing preparations for the 2012 Olympics. During the week His Excellency’s own diary was once more dominated by domestic engagements. In addition to his chairing the bi-weekly meetings of Cabinet, the President also received quarterly briefings from the Ministries of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Education and Skills Development and Trade and Industry. On Monday the Office was pleased to announce the appointment by His Excellency of Mr. Leornard Bapswa Sechele as the new Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr Sechele, who takes over from Ms. Leatile Dambe, who was recently appointed a Judge of the High Court, is a former Chief Magistrate. He holds a Master of Laws Degree in Procedural Law and has worked in the Botswana Legal System for more than two decades. On Tuesday afternoon, His Excellency received a courtesy call from the Nigerian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Alhaji Aliyu Idi Hong. The two discussed ways of further strengthening bilateral relations, while reiterating their common commitment to African Union principles. The Nigerian Foreign Minister had come to Botswana as the head of his country’s the delegation that took part in this week’s meeting of the Botswana-Nigeria Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation. The Commission was convened to enhance the bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, arts and culture, and tourism, as well as promote bilateral trade and investment. The two countries are also committed to cooperating in tackling transnational crime such as drug and human trafficking. Nigeria has had a resident High Commission in Gaborone since 1968, while Botswana opened its own High Commission in Abuja in 2007. This morning, His Excellency will attend and present medals to members of the Police Service at the Special Support Group Camp in recognition of their distinguished, meritorious and long service. The ceremony is a precursor to tomorrow morning’s annual Police Day celebrations at the Molepolole Sports Complex, which the President will attend. Still in Molepolole, His Excellency will also be the guest of honour tomorrow afternoon at the handing over of a clinic in the Boswelakoko ward to the Ministry of Health. The clinic has been generously donated by the Abdul Satar Dada Foundation. The Foundation also recently donated a clinic for residents of Bontleng in Gaborone. Also during the week H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, had the pleasure of commending Tamocha Memorial School in Mahalapye for consistently registering the best pass rate in the Primary School Leaving Examinations within its Inspectoral Area. Speaking during the awarding of a floating trophy for the achievement, His Honour encouraged parents and teachers to accept responsibility for developing their children to become productive citizens, adding that what a child would become was often determined by the societal influences. His Honour also advised the audience on various Government initiatives, such as the introduction of the ICT syllabus and subject specialization at primary schools, which have been conceived to ensure that today’s children become tomorrow’s innovative participants in the emerging knowledge-based economy. During the ceremony, His Honour, in keeping with his custom on such occasions, also personally donated a computer to school. The week also saw the Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, continued his nationwide consultations focusing on Government’s commitment to eradicate poverty. At a kgotla meeting in Mahalapye he stressed that for the anti-poverty initiative to succeed Batswana from all walks of life would need to work together and assume responsibility in the spirit of self-help.
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