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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 1 of 2012
23/02/12

“Reaching out to the Needy”

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency. Notable public events over the past week included His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s, handing over of houses at Xaixai and His Honour the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe’s Kgotla meeting with Mahalapye residents.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Presidential Affairs, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, lived up to this Office’s goal of connecting with Batswana every day through his engagement in daily Kgotla meetings and consultations across his constituency.  

President at Xaixai

On Sunday the President travelled to the remote village of Xaixai in the Okavango Sub-District, where he handed over 25 houses and 600 goats to deserving families, as well as children’s gifts.

The houses were built through the President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy, while the small stock was sourced through Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) programme.

During the event His Excellency commended the companies and individuals who have contributed to the Housing Appeal, while urging others to also step forward. At the event he was accompanied by five of the prominent businessmen who have contributed to the appeal – Willy Kathurima of Kathurima Associates, Mohammed Dada of Broadhurst Motors, Rafik Sardar of Trade World, Salim Shiek of Builders World and Farouk Chopdat of Choppies, as well as members of the private as well as public service media.

A total of 453 houses have so far been pledged by good Samaritans in response to the initiative. But it was noted that it is currently estimated that over a thousand homes are needed to cater to the existing needs of the Remote Area Settlements alone.

Among Sunday’s beneficiaries was 92 year old Xhao Tiqhao, whose housing plight, as seen earlier on BTV, has been an inspiration for the initial launch of the Appeal by concerned entrepreneurs. As the Appeal’s Coordinator, Senior Private Secretary Duke Masilo, reportedly observed:

“When His Excellency the President was here in 2010 to present Christmas gifts to residents, Botswana Television covered the event. The resulting clips that showed the abject poverty afflicting people here motivated calls for members of the public to come together to  address the basic need for shelter.”    

At the event, the President was also accompanied by the Assistant Minister of Local Government, the Honourable Maxwell Motowane, who used the occasion to highlight the fact that, since last year’s Remote Area Pitso in Ghanzi, Government has been fully committed to the implementation of further affirmative action empowerment measures to better livelihoods in communities such as Xaixai.

In this context, the Assistant Minister pleaded for individuals in the private as well as public sector to play a part in providing further opportunities for sustainable development in remote rural areas.

On their return from what most agreed had been an uplifting day, the President’s entourage experienced some discomfort when the BDF aircraft they were flying in experienced technical problems on landing due to an apparent fault with one of the landing wheels.  The plane, however, landed safely, while the BDF has confirmed that the incident is under investigation. 

On Wednesday, Duke Masilo, was pleased to be able to hand over an additional twelve houses to the needy at Dikwididi and Mochudi villages.

Vice President at Mahalapye

Current international economic volatility, as reflected in this week’s downgrade of projected global economic growth by the world Bank, along with the continued need for balanced public spending mean that Government will have to continue to do more with less in the coming year. This was a key message put forward by His Honour the Vice President on Monday, when he addressed a well attended gathering of Mahalapye residents.

The Vice President observed that while prevailing circumstance was a challenge as stakeholders finalise their spending plans, the budget proposals for the 2012-13 financial year would cater to the needs of all Batswana. In this respect he underscored the fact that Government would continue to target such areas as economic diversification and poverty eradication in line with its long term commitments.

His Honour went on to voice his personal dismay at the reported high level of female destitute in the Mahalapye Sub-District, which he observed pointed to an urgent need for the community to come together in supporting sustainable development through such activities as local small, medium and micro enterprise (SMMEs) as well as agricultural projects.

On a more encouraging note it was noted that 435 people in the area had benefitted from the Poverty Eradication Programme last year, whose projects offer opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

Go Zebras

Like workplaces across the country, our staff are donning Botswana blue, black and white are the predominant fashion as workers at all levels anticipate next Tuesday’s opening AFCON match pitting the Zebras against Ghana.

Fans across the country had good news this week with the announcement that BTV are now expected to broadcast the tournament’s matches. This development was made possible after SportFive, a French based company that was given exclusive rights to the tournament by CAF, dramatically reduced their asking price. As a result the national broadcaster, with the generous support of Debswana, Orange Botswana and Botswana Life, is now expected to be able to fully meet the costs of coverage.

 

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