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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 5

On Sunday H.E. the President returned from his State Visit to Cuba to face a busy week full of international as well as domestic engagements.

The week began with His Excellency hosting the current SADC Chairperson and President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Mr. Joseph Kabila. The Congolese President arrived on Monday for a two-day working visit to the SADC Secretariat. While in the country President Kabila also met with President Khama and toured the new DTC Botswana building. Noting that his country was a major exporter of diamonds, the Congolese President expressed his appreciation and support of Botswana’s efforts to establish itself as a regional diamond centre.

On Monday, the President also received a Special Envoy, the Hon. Daudi Migereko, who had come on behalf of Ugandan President and current African Union Chair, H.E. Yuweri Museveni.

Monday also marked the beginning this week’s royal visit to Botswana by T.R.H. Princes William and Henry of Britain. In the afternoon, Prince
Henry was the special guest of this year’s Queen’s Birthday tea party at the residence of the UK High Commissioner, an event whose distinguished guests included H.H. the Vice President. In the evening His Honour also hosted an official dinner for President Kabila.

On Tuesday, His Excellency delivered a statement at the official opening of the ceremony of the Botswana Police Service 39th Annual Senior Officers  Conference at the Special Support Band Wing Hall, in which he commended the Police Service for their improved performance in fighting crime despite limited resources coupled with the effects of the global economic crisis. The President went on to encourage the Service to review current strategies and come up with implementable solutions to further curb crime. Botswana’s crime fighting success was recently highlighted in its ranking as one of the world’s most peaceful countries.

In the afternoon the President received a courtesy call by the Princes, as part of a schedule which saw the two royals visit a number of Tusk Trust projects at Maun and the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in Gaborone and Maun. The Tusk Trust, of which Prince William is a patron, is a conservation and environmental education charity organisation. Prince Henry also launched the British Council’s 2010 Reading Challenge at Mophane Primary School in Gaborone. The aim of this initiative is to encourage reading for pleasure amongst school going children.

Also on Tuesday, H.H. the Vice President flew to New Delhi, India to begin a four-day visit, which also took him to Mumbai. During his visit His Honour met with the country’s political leadership, investors and potential investors as well as members of the Bollywood (film) fraternity.

The visit is a reciprocal one after the Indian Vice President, H.H. Hamid
Ansari visited Botswana in January of this year.

Much of the President’s schedule for Wednesday was taken up by Cabinet, while Thursday’s activities included a Presidential walkabout in the Gaborone North Constituency, furthering his consultation process with the public.

This morning, His Excellency will attend the Botswana Democratic Party National Youth Wing Congress at Maharaja Conference Centre, which will run for the entire weekend. It is expected that a new committee will be elected following the resignation of some of its members.

On Saturday, His Excellency will officially open Mmadinare Constituency projects at Damuchejenaa village.

The Presidency responded to a number of media questions during week, among other things affirming that the President is entitled to invite non-Government guests to join him on his external trips, including, as has been the practice, private journalists. In this respect, the Office was obliged to confirm that a journalist who had been nominated to accompany His Excellency to Cuba had returned home following alleged misconduct; an incident that is under investigation.

Another incident resulted in a private sector journalist being barred from a photo-op during the President’s meeting with the two Princes, due to an unfortunate communications breakdown.

In light of the above incidents, the Office of the President wishes to reaffirm its commitment to work with journalist from the private as well as public sector.

 In this respect the Office has further affirmed that the private press will be welcome to cover this coming Tuesday’s meeting of Cabinet Ministers and Councillors, contrary to a media report.

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