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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 9 of 2011
13/05/11

OP welcomes Vice President’s return to duty.

Welcome once more your weekly window into the Presidency.  Today, His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama is expected to participate in Community Service Day activities at Mmopane, while tomorrow he is scheduled to attend the annual Prisons’ Day events at Mahalapye.

A highlight of the past week has been the return to duty of His Honour the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe. There was joy and emotion in the room when he joined Office staff in their weekly early morning prayers.

Hitting the ground running, yesterday His Honour delivered the keynote address on the occasion of the opening of the 10th All-Africa Junior Athletics Championships, which is being hosted by Botswana at the UB Stadium.

In his remarks, he observed that Botswana was honoured to have been selected to host the Games, which are an opportunity for the region as a whole to take stock of it various sport development programmes, further noting that the event allows young athletes to showcase their talents, thus preparing them for a bigger stage.

The All Africa Junior Championships were one of two major international events that were successfully hosted in Gaborone this week, the other being the 6th Annual IST-Africa (Information Society Technologies in Africa) Conference and Exhibition, which was profiled in our last edition.

His Excellency the President’s schedule this past week included his opening of the Botswana Democratic Party’s Women’s Wing Congress in Nata, where he observed that women have been the bedrock of the party. He further noted that while it is women who are sadly often the most affected by social ills, they are also invariably in the fore front of meeting such challenges, adding:

“It is female led families that are most affected by poverty and this is one of the factors that directed beneficiation of the poverty eradication project to homes.”

The President further called on the party to redouble its efforts to ensure that as many women as possible are nominated by the party for political office in the next election, scheduled for 2014, stating his continued concern that: “despite the fact that women continue to be active in politics in large numbers and contribute immensely to our party and nation, we continue to fail to demonstrate their level of participation by the very low numbers that ultimately stand for election to positions of political leadership.”

The President’s remarks won the praise of the local chapter of Gender Links, which noted: “The fact that his Excellency realises something has to be done shows that we as a nation are taking steps in the right direction.”

As is often the norm, much of His Excellency’s week was taken up with briefings from line Ministries. This week’s schedule included quarterly progress reports by the Ministries of Agriculture, Labour and Home affairs, Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, as well as a his regular updating on global issues by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Following the latter gathering, the President once more expressed his deep concern at the continued violence being perpetuated by the Syrian regime in a statement that further revealed that he had written to the UN Secretary-General asking him to use his good offices to call upon the Security Council to take appropriate action.

During the week, His Excellency also found time to answer questions by the Weekend Post newspaper about the ongoing strike by some public sector workers.

Also during the week the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Patrick Masimolole was pleased to be the guest of honour at the handing over of a backyard garden project in Tlokweng, which was donated by Communications Students at Limkokwing University as the voluntary contribution to His Excellency’s Poverty Eradication initiative.

In making their gesture the students received guidance and support from Flotek, Sanitas and Garden Nurseries, as well as the Office of the President and other Government departments.  

Also during the week, this Office issued a statement expressing the view that the ongoing strike action by a segment of public service workers has heretofore been a testament to the fact that, notwithstanding their natural differences, the overwhelming majority of Batswana remain united in their respect for each other and the rule of law.

In this context, the statement expressed disappointment with a South African media report that suggested that Botswana’s internationally renowned record of political stability was at risk, observing that we are a nation used to meeting our challenges by upholding its own time honoured principles of good governance based on mutual respect.

The statement further noted that inasmuch as strikes can occur in the life in any democracy, Botswana has put in place appropriate laws and mechanisms for managing such circumstance, that are fully consistent with relevant ILO protocols.
It also reaffirmed the fact that since the beginning of the strike a large majority of public service workers have chosen to remain on duty.


 

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