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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency for 27-7-12
27/07/12

Common Commitment for Shared Goals

As most readers are by now aware, this coming week His Honour Lt. General Mompati Merafhe will be stepping down as a Member of Parliament, as well as from his position as Vice President. Speaking to his constituents last Friday he made it clear that he taken the hard decision to retire from public office due to health considerations, and that he had otherwise intended to serve until 2014. His presence will be especially missed within the Office of the President. Our best wishes go with him and his family, while we look forward to his promised memoirs.

The President

On Tuesday H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, chaired a joint meeting of Cabinet and the Kgatleng District Council in the context of his ongoing "Taking Cabinet to the Councils" initiative. In his opening remarks His Excellency observed that the interactions have allowed political leaders at the central and local levels to better appreciate their shared responsibility to their common constituents. He further affirmed that it should no longer be acceptable for politicians to shirk their common responsibilities by pointing fingers at one another when things go wrong as the public has every right to hold them collectively accountable for ensuring the success of their common commitments.

The President also appealed to the Councillors to remain mindful about the state of the economy in terms of Government's ability to generate the necessary revenues to meet its recurrent and development expenditure obligations, further observing that:

"As political leaders we all also thus have a shared responsibility to candidly inform Batswana about the limits as well as extent of Government projects and programmes in the context of the continuing need to exercise spending constraint. Moving forward, this also means that we all have a shared responsibility of ensure optimal use of the public resources at our disposal." 

The President further emphasized the need for Local Authorities to continue to encourage the growth of small, micro and medium enterprises in their areas through the outsourcing of such functions as cleaning, security, refuse collection and gardening services.

As is the tradition following the opening remarks discussions were held in camera to allow for a free and frank exchange of views.

As anticipated, last Friday the President hosted some sixty teachers for private discussions and lunch at State House, as a way of better appreciating their vocational concerns. At the gathering he was also joined by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, the Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Motoi and other officials. In his welcoming remarks, he informed the teachers that he considered it important to hear from them directly about the challenges they face.

On Monday the President had the pleasure of receiving the letters of credence appointing two new diplomatic envoys to Botswana, H.E. Mrs. Norma Roberts, who is the new High Commissioner for Jamaica and Archbishop Mario Cassari, as the Ambassador of the Holy See (Vatican).  

On Thursday, the President was in the Ngamiland constituency, where he met with residents at Tubu, Etsha 1 and Etsha 13 villages.

Botswana looks to China and India

On Monday members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Poverty Eradication briefed the media on their recent Official Visits to the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China.

The Sub-Committee's Chairman, the Honourable Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mokgweetsi Masisi, began the briefing with a personal tribute to His Honour the Vice President, who has been a key driver of the Poverty Eradication programme.

The Minister went on to report he, along with two of his Sub-Committee colleagues, the Honourable Keletso Rakhudu and the Honourable Botlogile Tshireletso had gone to the two countries to benchmark anti-poverty strategies, programmes and projects. The press briefing had been called to report on their findings and what they further intended to achieve moving forward

He further noted that the visits had been made possible at the invitation of the Chinese and Indian governments. He was thus grateful that Their Excellencies High Commissioner Madhava Chandra of India and Ambassador Liu Huanxing of China had also taken the time be present at the briefing.

At the briefing it was further observed that India and China are the two nations that have in recent years enjoyed the greatest quantitative success in pulling their citizens out of poverty. In each nation the poverty rate has declined, while literally hundreds of millions of individuals have graduated from poverty to dignified lives through sustainable incomes. It is also true that, like Botswana, the two countries are also still finding innovative ways to tackle the continued existence of poverty within their borders.

Notwithstanding the differences of scale in terms of their very large populations, each country contains nearly 20% of the world's population; both of the Asian giants are potential partners as well as models for local poverty eradication efforts. It is therefore anticipated Botswana will be signing memorandum of understanding with both India and China, which will enable the three countries to further collaborate in addressing issues of poverty. In this respect it is also anticipated that relevant officials will make follow-up visits.

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