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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No. 10 of 2012

Citizen Engagement for Effective Governance

Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. As is commonly the case, H.E. the President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s schedule this week included a number of Ministry and project briefings.

This morning it will be the turn of the Ministry of State President (MSP). Along with the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security, MSP is unique in incorporating institutions with diverse mandates headed at a senior level by their own Accounting Officers at Permanent Secretary level.

Besides the various operational units that fall directly under it, the Ministry thus includes high level entities as the National Strategy Office, the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), as well as fully autonomous institutions such as the Auditor General, Ombudsman and the National Assembly, whose independent mandates are defined and protected by law.

What these diverse institutions do have a common, beyond their collective commitment to serving the public, is that for purposes of accountability to Parliament and the public they fall under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, currently the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi.

In the case of the independent divisions it may be further noted that, notwithstanding the misconceptions of some, it is precisely because they do enjoy special status as defined by statute that they are served by a Minister within the apex office. 

Over the past seven days the President also travelled to the Tonota Sub-District and to Kgatleng, where he addressed dikgotla yesterday at Malotwane, Pilane and Rasesa.

The President was in Tonota last Friday to officially open a number of development projects, including a library, staff housing, water works, a Rural Administration Centre, Kgotla shelter and internal roads, as well Infectious Disease Control Centres located at Serule, Borolong and Manyanda, which were built at a collective cost of just over P 261 million.

In remarks for the occasion, His Excellency affirmed that, notwithstanding the burden of the global economic recession, Government recognizes the need to provide communities with infrastructure, further observing that beneficiaries should, nevertheless, justify such investments through the proper use and maintenance of facilities, while appreciating the need for cost recovery for selected services.

It was in this context that he also raised specific concern that the public bus/taxi rank that was constructed at Tonota remains underutilized despite the extensive local consultations that took place in the preparation of Tonota-Shashe Development Plan that determined its need and location. He further observed that:

“The importance of putting these facilities to use as soon as possible cannot be overemphasized as they would uplift the livelihoods of small businesses who are supposed to operate the market stalls and emerge as key economic drivers for the Sub-District.”

Also, on Tuesday, the President on behalf of the Lady Khama Charity Trust of which he is the patron, had the pleasure of handing over donations totalling P 500 thousand to ten deserving service organisations, namely: Bana ba Metsi School, the Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Childline, the Flying Mission, Little Friends, Ray of Hope Foundation, Red Cross, SOS, St. Vincent Paul and Top Banana.

His Excellency’s participation on such occasions thus helps to shine a media spotlight on the existence and good works of various organisations within our country.

Last Friday H.H. the Vice President officiated at two events, one in Mahalapye and the other in Diphuduhudu. At Diphuduhudu, he formally closed the three day workshop, which had provided life skills training for just over one thousand beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication Programme, who had been drawn from all 67 of the country’s gazetted Remote Area Communities.

In his remarks, the Vice President commended the fact that during the workshop a number of projects had also been rolled out, including the development of a cultural village to attract tourist income, 7 back yard gardens and a revamped bakery

He further noted that Government was committed to supporting the Economic Diversification Drive, as well as Poverty Eradication Programme by facilitating market access for produce from small scale businesses, which have now been exempted from the normal procurement processes.

In Mahalapye, the Vice President was delighted once more award a Floating Trophy of the school in the Mahalapye Inspectorial Area that had achieved the best PSLE results. This year’s winner was Ngakaagae Primary School. In addition to the trophy the school also received a four-in-one print machine.

Also during the past week, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration addressed dikgotla at Matlhakola and Moshupa. Among the issues raised during the meetings was the fight against HIV/AIDS, access to various Government programmes and assistance packages and continued public concern over the phenomenon of floor-crossing by MPs and Councillors.

Yesterday, the Minister also held a press conference to brief media on next week’s Public Service Convention and Public Service Day celebrations (21-22 June 2012), which will take place at Fairground Holdings.

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