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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No. 2 of 2011

Partnering for Poverty Eradication

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency. This morning His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be visiting Old Naledi, where he will be making his own contribution to this month’s Community Service Day activities.  While there he will be overseeing the donation of equipment and supplies to a voluntary pre-school serving those with needs in the community. 

The monthly Community Service Day has become a routine part of the work schedules for members of the political leadership as well as civil servants. Elsewhere Cabinet members will be joining civil servants working at all levels across the country in contributing towards the realisation of various additional self-help initiatives targeting the needy and marginalised, through activities that have been organised by their Ministries and departments.
Led by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, and Assistant Minister, the Honourable Patrick Masimolole, Office of the President (OP) staff will thus be in Morwa today, where they will be assisting a family to set up its own drip irrigation backyard garden.

As with such previous OP initiatives as tree planting and facilitating partnerships to provide shelter for the needy, the Morwa backyard garden project is a manifestation of the current Administration’s wider commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting people centred development through grassroots interventions designed to help Batswana help themselves. 

As President Khama observed at the inaugural Pitso ya go Nyeletsa Lehuma in Mahalapye late last year:

“The backyard garden gives us hope in our fight against poverty due to the fact that 80% of the type of poverty experienced countrywide is that of lack of food…Other packages being developed to augment the backyard garden include: Chicken farming, small stock, bee-keeping, cottage industries/handicrafts, backyard nurseries, handymen/women (technical and agronomy), fisheries, tourism and (food) processing.”

The week that was

With Parliament in session, the President began the week with an early Monday morning Cabinet meeting, followed by a quarterly briefing by the Minister and senior officials of the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources on their progress and ongoing challenges.

During the briefing the Ministry was pleased to be able to report on the continued recovery, expansion and diversification in the minerals sector; ongoing efforts to secure our country’s energy needs; and continued success towards ensuring access to clean water by all Batswana.

On Tuesday Senior Officials joined Ministers and Assistant Ministers in an Economic Committee of Cabinet to discuss proposals to enhance domestic land policy with the goal of ensuring more equitable access for all citizens, while overcoming the inequities caused by the speculation and land hoarding. In their divergent perspectives participants were united in their appreciation that land is a finite resource that underpins social identity and security as well as economic opportunity. 

In addition to Cabinet, on Wednesday His Excellency received an inter-ministerial briefing on transport issues, which focused on ensuring enhanced access to those with special needs.

On Thursday his Excellency travelled to the Ghanzi North Constituency, where he toured and met with ordinary citizens at Kuke and D’kar communities before addressing a well attended kgotla meeting at Ghanzi.

Last Saturday, His Honour the Acting Vice President, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, was the guest of honour at handover to Government of a state of the art Medical Clinic that was generously donated by the A.S. Dada Foundation. At the ceremony, His Honour expressed his utmost appreciation for “…this noble gesture, which will go a long way in contributing to the efficient delivery of our primary healthcare system”, further adding:

“I have no doubt in my mind that the A.S. Dada Foundation and the people of Kanye have spared no effort in ensuring that this project becomes a resounding success. I hasten to add that the project of this magnitude would not have been realized, if you did not put a lot of work into it.”

Over the past week the Acting Vice President, along with the recently appointed Minister and Assistant Minister, also received briefings from senior OP staff on the Offices operations, challenges and opportunities. This process will be carried forward in the coming week when senior OP staff will join the Minister and Assistant Minister in a strategic retreat.

Spotlight on Former Presidents

Last night privileged ticket holders attended the premier of “The African Democrat” a documentary film that pays tribute to the contributions made to this county and continent by Former President Sir Ketumile Masire. The film is the latest biographical profile by the local production company BKDS (Billy Kokorwe and Dominic Savage) Films.

Meanwhile Former President Festus Mogae will also be in the spotlight today when he delivers the inaugural Claude Ake Memorial Lecture at Port Harcourt, in the Rivers State of Nigeria.

Professor Ake was well known as a socially-engaged scholar as well as prolific and influential writer on democracy and development. The topic of Former President Mogae’s lecture will be - “Doom to Boom: Re-Engineering the Political Economy of the Rivers State for Citizen Prosperity: Lessons from Botswana.”

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