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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 26

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency, this being our first report for the New Year. The past two weeks have been eventful as Cabinet returned from its holiday recess amid preparations for next week’s presentation of the annual Budget to Parliament.

New Appointments

His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, announced three new appointments to Cabinet. The Hon. Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi has been named as the new Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, replacing the Hon. Ms. Lesego Motsumi, who has left Cabinet to take up a senior diplomatic appointment.

The Hon. Mr. Patrick Masimolole has been named as the new Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, replacing the Hon. Mr. Masisi.

In addition, His Excellency announced that the Hon. Mr. Edwin Batsu has been appointed as the Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security.

It was further announced that Mr. Newman Kahiya has been appointed as the new Secretary of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. Mr. Kahiya had previously served as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

H.H. the Vice President

Along with the rest of the nation, this Office’s attention and prayers in recent days has been focused on the hospitalisation of H.H. the Vice President, first at Bokomoso Hospital, initially for tests, and subsequently at Milpark Hospital in South Africa, where he underwent surgery earlier this week.

Following the surgery, His Honour was visited by His Excellency, who on behalf of the nation wished him a speedy recovery. The President also took the opportunity to meet with members of the Vice President’s family and the treating physicians who briefed him further on His Honour’s post-operative progress.

While the President was briefly out of the country, the Hon. Ponatshego Kedikilwe served as Acting President, representing His Excellency at this year’s opening of the legal year.

As we go to press, His Honour remains in Hospital, recuperating. While he is on medical leave, the Hon. Ponatshego Kedikilwe will continue to serve as the Acting Vice President.

Since His Honour’s hospitalization an unnecessary controversy has arisen in the face of persistent demands on the part of some members of the private media that this Office provide them with a fuller disclosure of medical details, which is quite simply not our prerogative.

While we have been candid about the Vice President’s hospitalization, itself, we have had to maintain that the nature of the illness of any individual is a confidential matter subject to doctor-patient privilege. In as much as medical practitioners the world over have a legal and ethical duty to keep such information confidential, it would be irresponsible for any Government to trespass on said privilege, all the more so for a Government whose Constitution upholds its citizens fundamental right to privacy. 
Toning Up

Much of His Excellency’s diary over the past two weeks has been devoted to bilateral meetings with individual Ministers, accompanied by their Permanent Secretaries to better establish the Executive Branch’s expectations for the coming year. These “tone setting” sessions have been reinforced by the resumption of fuller briefings by line Ministries and the reconvening of Cabinet.

As a further exercise in tone setting, this past weekend the Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale, convened a retreat for all Permanent Secretaries in Kang in order that they could collectively introspect on the progress being made across Government towards the implementation of NDP10 and map the way forward to ensure more effective service delivery in 2011. The core objectives of the retreat were to:

• Strengthen the permanent secretaries’ forum for improved collaboration, coordination, alignment and integration for efficiency, efficacy and effectiveness;

• Internalise the national agenda and come up with strategies for successful implementation; and

• Draw up an Action Plan for effective service delivery to the citizens.

In this respect the retreat closed its fruitful deliberations by passing the following five key resolutions:

1. Rationalization of structures for effectiveness in delivery of services at both central and local government level is to be undertaken;

2. Rationalization and effective management of human resources, improvement on supervision shall be undertaken as a matter of urgency;

3. The roll out of e-government, which is a key leverage to transforming public service delivery and saving costs, shall be fast tracked;

4. Value system and leadership be continually strengthened to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services; and

5. Collaboration for improved coordination, alignment and integration shall be ensured, as this is the key to efficiency and resource optimization.

During the retreat the Permanent Secretaries, in response to the President’s call for community service raised funds towards construction of a house for a needy family in Kang, to be constructed in collaboration with the local authorities.

Finally, the President this week resumed his Constituency tours, addressing the Jakalas 2 Kgotla and visiting the Mabudzani, Themashanga and Siviya villages in the Tati East Constituency on Thursday.

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