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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 6

H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, returned from Maputo, Mozambique today where he joined other regional leaders in attending 35th Anniversary celebrations of Mozambique’s liberation from colonialism and fascism.

The visit underscored past and present cooperation between the peoples of Botswana and Mozambique. During Mozambique’s liberation struggle a number of prominent freedom fighters, including the country’s late first President Samora Machel found refuge in Botswana. This week it was announced that the two countries are making good progress in ongoing efforts to establish a rail link.

Domestically, the theme of people centred development was highlighted on Saturday when his Excellency travelled to Damochujenaa village in the Central District to open a number of community driven development projects. In remarks for the occasion, His Excellency commended community stakeholders at Damochujenaa, particularly the Lions Club, for demonstrating their commitment to the time honoured national principle of Ipelegeng or self-help, noting that in seeking to build a better nation as conceived in Vision 2016, communities should not look upon Government as the sole provider of everything. He observed that while there were certain things that Government could and would provide, in other areas it had created an environment that enabled communities like Damochujenaa to better themselves, adding that: 

“There is therefore a need to harness this potential; there is a need for awareness creation and sensitization to our people of the development challenges that require our participation and commitment, especially among religious and civic leaders, women, the youth, the village leadership, and indeed everybody to put the development of this settlement on a sustainable path.” 

Amongst the development projects commissioned were the Sedibe Primary School, Kgotla office, a bus shelter and thirteen low income houses.    

Earlier, in remarks at the BDP Youth Congress, His Excellency had also highlighted the importance of engaging the youth:  

“Situating Youth development at the centre of our national development program remains critical. My government continues to be committed to empowerment of the youth through various economic empowerment programs. These programs of which you all are aware by now, are continually monitored to see if they make the intended impact and any deficiency noticed remedied accordingly.” 

On Sunday, His Excellency accompanied by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, the Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, toured Mmopane village where his interactions included conveying his condolences at a bereavement. Whilst making the rounds, the President was also briefed about village concerns over water shortages. 

On Tuesday morning, the President attended the Economic Committee of Cabinet, which considered the 17th Progress Report of the Cabinet (Sub) Committee on the Economy and Employment, which is chaired by His Honour the Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe.  The report focused on the Agriculture, Health and Diamond Hubs, Mmamabula Energy Project, and Government’s commitment to Eradicate Poverty.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, H.H. the Vice President stressed the need for stakeholders to refocus their efforts in achieving more in the context of necessary cutbacks, a point that was further echoed by His Excellency. With specific reference to austerity measures in the UK and elsewhere, the President observed that the challenges Botswana faced had a global dimension but would be overcome through local commitment. 

It is anticipated that as the economy continues to recover the specified initiatives contained in the national strategy of economic diversification and growth through excellence will gain momentum. 

In other events during the week the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had the opportunity to brief His Excellency on issues pertaining to its ministry. International engagements also included a visit by a delegation of Russian Parliamentarians to the Office of the President, where they were received by His Honour the Vice President. 

On Thursday morning, His Excellency and Cabinet Ministers attended a meeting with Gaborone City Council Councilors.  This encounter like the one also recently held at the Francistown City Council, afforded the Cabinet Ministers and Councillors with an opportunity to share ideas and examine government policies, programmes and projects, while considering proposals on how best the local authorities mandate could be enhance to better serve their constituents. 

As promised in previous communications, members of the private as well as public service press were able to cover the opening of the meeting. Following continued misdirected allegations of a so-called media blackout by Government, the Office issued a further press release outlining the reasons for restricted coverage of Cabinet proceedings.   

The Office also found it necessary to refute a farfetched allegation that the suspension of a member of the press from the President’s travelling party to Cuba following allegations of misconduct, compromised the editorial independence of the newspaper concerned.



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