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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 17

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.

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