Local time: Thursday, 27 February 2020 03:00:26hrs
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Office of the President (OP)


Welcome once more to your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. This week’s big event was the State of the Nation Address by H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, which as is customary was delivered at Monday’s opening session of the fifth and final session of the t...enth Parliament. *

This morning President Khama, in his capacity as the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commander-in-Chief, will address the Commissioning Parade of this year’s Officer Cadets (Intake 36). This event comes at the end of a leadership training course in which the cadets are prepared and tested for their readiness to assume positions of responsibility as commissioned military officers.

In addition to local officers in training, Intake 36 also included cadets from Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. Besides being a reflection of external confidence in the quality of BDF training, the multi-national make-up of Intake 36 is a manifestation of our region’s close cooperation for shared security.

Regional solidarity and cooperation was very much on the agenda this past Wednesday when President Khama hosted separate working visits by his fellow leaders, H.E. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

The Ugandan President’s working visit had been arranged on relatively short notice, following communications between the two leaders and governments on the desirability of enhanced cooperation on issues of regional as well as bilateral concern.

Thereafter, President Kenyatta arrived for a scheduled one day visit, which included bilateral talks and a working lunch at State House, which also focused on regional as well as bilateral concerns.

Last Friday, President Khama attended the annual Kalahari Conservation Society Dinner, in his capacity as the Patron and a founding member of the Society. During the evening a letter of commendation to His Excellency by the National Geographic Society was presented, which, in part, stated:

“In acknowledgement of your understanding achievements advancing conservation in Africa and the Republic of Botswana, we at the National Geographic Society would like to commend you for your vision as your clear commitment to improving and sustaining life on our planet. The conservation efforts you have undertaken reflect progressive thinking and meaningful advances, and are a beacon of hope, a catalyst for protecting natural resources and a powerful demonstration of what is possible when we work together.”

In other events, a dinner for members of Ntlo-ya-Dikgosi was hosted by His Honour the Vice President, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who was joined by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi. In his remarks for the occasion His Honour observed that while change is inevitable it can pose challenges to time honoured traditions and institutions, such as bogosi, which remain critical conduits of timeless values, further observing that:

“The collective challenge, in my view, is therefore is to mount dipitso and workshops and seminars to divine and devise appropriate social sanctions to be guided by an institution carefully crafted to deal with moral and ethical behaviour, Botho, befitting the cultures of the people of Botswana under their national flower of diversity in building a moral, tolerant, united and proud nation.”

Also this week Minister Masisi returned to the Bikwe ward in Manyana, where he assured residents that they will be assisted to acquire a sand mining license. The meeting was a follow up to complaints by the community that they have not been able to utilise rights to the sand in the area for their own benefit, despite submitting an application for a community licence, while an outside company had been issued with the license behind their backs.

In response, Minister Masisi said the Bikwe Village Development Committee would be assisted in its efforts to get a sand mining licence. He further concurred that there was something amiss in the allocation process; expressing his disappointment that the residents had heretofore been neither properly consulted nor assisted in the matter.

Tomorrow evening, Minister Masisi will be the guest of honour at a fundraising concert to be held at Ditshupo Hall, featuring the popular South African gospel singer Winnie Mashaba, as well as local artists.

On Tuesday, the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, was the Guest of Honour at a Youth Forum in Molepolole, which was convened to promote economic empowerment through such programmes as the Youth Development Fund, Construction Industry Trust Fund and the Young Farmers Fund.

Also this week, in light of misleading reports in the local press, Government found it necessary to reaffirm that it has no intent, much less strategy in place, to arrest, detain, deport or otherwise unduly target gay people as part of ongoing efforts to curb HIV/AIDS.
It was further noted that there is no reference to any such actions in a Draft Ministry of Health Document, which had been misrepresented by local media.

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