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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 14 of 2011


Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency.

A highlight of the past week was the convening in Mahalapye of the 34th National Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. In his Keynote Address to the Congress, H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, spoke at length about the recent public service strike, reiterating that Government remains mindful that inflation has eroded workers earnings of its workers, further observing that:

“”It is not that the Government does not know the effects of inflation on ordinary households, including public sector employees, and that there is a need to increase salaries, but we are without means to increase them in our present economic and financial circumstances.”

The President went on to thank the majority of public servants who, despite feeling the effects of inflation, chose not to go on strike. He also announced that the 3% pay increase that shall be given to public sector workers in September will not be extended to political leaders.

Before departing for Mahalapye, the President bestowed the “Golden Star Award” to Mr. Kutlo Kebaikanye, for his having been this nation’s top performer in the 2010 BGCSE Examinations. The award, along with other academic prizes that were conferred at a subsequent ceremony, was sponsored by a donation from the Diamond Empowerment Fund.

The President’s schedule this week included chairing Cabinet and receiving a progress brief from the Ministry of Local Government. Yesterday, he greeted residents and addressed Kgotla meetings at Pitseng, Seherelela, Sesu and Selokolela in the Ngwaketse South Constituency.

H.H. the Vice President

Also yesterday, H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, opened a meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, an event that included the formal launching of the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa, which is based in Gaborone.

In his remarks, the Vice President reminded delegates of their collective commitment to prioritise agriculture for poverty eradication and sustainable food security, as reflected in such regional instruments as the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security”, the Regional Indicative Strategy Development Plan and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.

His Honour also noted that, for its part, Botswana has come up with a roadmap for poverty eradication, which has identified and funded backyard gardening, bee keeping, small stock and nurseries as key areas in the agricultural sector that can contribute to poverty eradication.

The Minister

On Monday, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, opened the 7th Pan African All Reading Conference, which was hosted by UB. In his remarks the Minister stressed the relationship between eradicating illiteracy and poverty, observing that there is a correlation between the two throughout the continent. 

The Minister also responded to questions raised in Parliament. Issues addressed included the good work of the President’s Housing Appeal, the constitutional status of Ntlo-ya-Dikgosi, the editorial parameters of state media and the fact that, contrary to a persistent rumour, State House is on state land (a legal status that dates back to the 1890’s).

He further informed Parliament that so far 957 dismissed essential services employees have been re-employed, including 34 are doctors, 470 nurses, and 453 from other professions. He also confirmed that as Government has not refused to certify professional certificates for dismissed employees, further adding that none of the dismissed employees have been blacklisted.
Media Responses

This Office circulated a statement expressing its disappointment at recent unwarranted criticism of the Commander of the BDF for remarks we view as having been twisted and taken out of context in various media reports, noting that he had stressed that the BDP has and will continue to at all times respect the constitution.

The Executive also expressed its disappointment at Parliament’s annulment of the recently issued Statutory Instrument adding Diamond, Teaching and Veterinary Services to the Schedule of Essential Services covered under the Trades Dispute Act. The statement further affirmed the administration’s intention to bring the matter back to Parliament as soon as it is appropriate.

This Office also commented on an article that recently appeared in a weekly South African, as well as local newspaper, whose clear object is to tarnish the President and two former Presidents. In the case of the current President its author twisted an acknowledged investment in a Linyanti tourist concession with a lodge in the CKGR, in which he has no stake.

Now that we are seeing media reports from across the border reporting that “South Africa’s strike season is underway” we wonder if sections of the same media will report this circumstance in the alarmist and speculative fashion that they had adopted during our own recent industrial action.

President’s Day

This coming Tuesday His Excellency will be the guest of honour at this year’s President’s Day Awards Ceremony. President’s Day holiday began as a celebration of political sovereignty. Before 1966, the colonial administration had celebrated its imperial sovereignty as “Queen’s day”. Replacing Mmamosadinyana’s with President’s Day was thus symbolic of the break from foreign rule to democratic self-rule. The holiday has now also become be an occasion to celebrate our country’s rich and varied cultural heritage.


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