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Office of the President (OP)
News/Press Releases
06.12.11
Ordinarily, the Office of the President does not wish to respond to statements made by members of the public. However, in this instance, due to the gravity of the matter, it has been found necessary to respond. This Office wishes to express its deepest regret at a statement carried in the November 30th issue of The Botswana Gazette attributed to the suspended Deputy Chief of Bakgatla, Mr. Bana Sekai about his attempts to meet with His Honour, the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe. As a matter of fact, this Office facilitated a meeting between His Honour, the Vice President and Mr Sekai on September 15, 2011, which was postponed by Mr. Sekai himself on September 13, 2011 on the account that he had not finished preparing a “Report” he wished to present to His Honour, the Vice President. Up to this day, the “Report” has not been submitted. In the spirit of mutual understanding, His Honour, the Vice President rescheduled the meeting to September 21, 2011 at 1500 hours. Again, Mr. Sekai called on September 20, 2011 to cancel the meeting. Mr. Sekai informed this Office that he was unable to honour the appointment since Kgosi Nyalala Pilane, whom he had invited to the meeting was attending a cultural event in Moruleng. We respect the right of Mr. Sekai to express his views on matters pertaining to the unfolding developments in Kgatleng, but wish to advise him to desist from making public statements which are utterly false and unfounded. However, it is inappropriate for a person entrusted with the responsibility to make public statements which are devoid of the truth. It serves to demonstrate his lack of respect for our cultural norms and values. In this regard, this Office wishes to dismiss Mr. Bana Sekai’s utterance with respect to His Honour the Vice President as both inaccurate and disrespectful. Ends
06.12.11
QUESTION: To ask the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration to confirm or deny that His Excellency the President enjoys dual citizenship being that of Botswana and the United Kingdom; if so, why; and if not, when did he denounce the British citizenship. ANSWER: Madam Speaker, the citizenship of His Excellency The President is not in doubt. He is a Motswana. However, Madam Speaker, I remain amazed by the innuendo in the question contrary to Standing Order No. 38.1 (j). Be that as it may, it ought to be well known to the experienced Hon. Member, if he did not allow himself to be blinded by his addiction to below the belt inquiry inconsistent with the politics of growth, development and progress, that being a Motswana does not allow you to hold the citizenship of any other country. To impute that His Excellency The President is an outlaw without evidence is a very serious matter. I HOLD THE Hon. Member of Parliament responsible for this and it is only he who can redeem himself and those whom he caused to so believe, not to mention the many loose canons, who have chosen to speak rather irresponsibly on this outside Parliament. I would like for it to be noted that there seems to be the tendency to preoccupy our political space with anything that bashes the Presidency from those in the opposition no matter who the President is. Let us get serious and address the real issues that Batswana would like us to. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
06.12.11
Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe says Government is committed to providing an enabling environment for the private sector to grow and contribute significantly to Botswana’s socio-economic development. Lt. General Merafhe informed the London-based Barclays Group chairman, Mr. Marcus Agius today that Government was committed to ensuring private sector interest to become engine of growth. The Vice President said though there were negative indications about the future, Government would try and minimize the effect of recession. Lt. General Merafhe also commended Barclays for its long-term commitment to Botswana, including supporting the nation through its Responsibility Banking Strategy. In response, Mr. Agius informed the Vice President about Barclays’ One Africa Strategy. He also commended Botswana for her economic achievements, democracy, political stability and prosperity, adding that it provided a good case for investment. The Barclays Group chairman was accompanied by Mr. Bret Packard, who is the managing director for southern Africa cluster and Mr. Wilfred Mpai, managing director of Barclays Bank Botswana. Ends
06.12.11
Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) has released Botswana’s 2011 sovereigncredit rating, retaining the A2 rating for both foreign and domestic bonds and revising the outlook upwards from “negative” to “stable”. The upgrade of the outlook reverses the decision in February 2010 to assign a negative outlook following the deterioration of the Government’s net asset position as a result of the global economic slowdown. The factors supporting the revised rating outlook include the continuing improvement in the budget position, as a result of the Government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation. This is underpinned by prospects for surpluses in both the fiscal balance and balance of payments, as well as concrete plans to realign government expenditure with revenue. The A2 rating is supported by Botswana’s sound policy framework, strong government effectiveness, and the long-term approach to prudent management of national finances, with a view to long-term economic and social development, which Moody’s compares favourably to other resource-rich developing economies. Nonetheless, the ratings could come under pressure again if a renewed period of further fiscal weakening undermines the net asset position in the medium term. Conversely, Moody’s notes that a combination of improved public finances and successful implementation of economic diversification strategies could lead to a ratings upgrade. November 24, 2011 Mr Andrew Sesinyi Head of Communications, Bank of Botswana Gaborone (267) 3606083 2) BANK OF BOTSWANA PRESS RELEASE STANDARD & POOR’S BOTSWANA’S 2011 SOVEREIGN CREDIT RATING Today (23/11/11) Standard & Poor’s (S & P) announced the results of a recent re-assessment of Botswana’s 2011 sovereign credit rating, following recent changes in the methodology through which it determines ratings. Similar reviews are being progressively undertaken for other country sovereign ratings issued by S & P. One of the main consequences of these changes is to align local and foreign currency sovereign ratings more closely. As a result of the review for Botswana, the foreign currency ratings are once more retained at A-/A-2 (long-term/short-term), and the stable outlook is also affirmed. This reflects the continued confidence in the authorities’ management of the economy. Consistent with the new criteria, the domestic currency rating has been lowered to A-/A-2 to be in line with the foreign currency rating. Explaining the adjustment, S & P highlighted the exchange rate framework and relatively underdeveloped domestic debt market as factors. Nonetheless, this adjustment notwithstanding, S & P have continued to emphasise the track record of political stability, implementation of prudent macroeconomic policies (which includes the combination of monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies) together with a high level of transparency regarding policy implementation, all of which are strong by emerging markets’ standards and bode well for Botswana’s future economic prospects. For further Information, please contact: Mr. Andrew Sesinyi Head of Communications (267) 3606083
06.12.11
His Honour the Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe will be the Guest Speaker at the commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December, 2011. The theme for this year’s event is “Together for a better world for all: including Persons with Disabilities in Development”. The event, which will be held at the Plateau Local Centre in Kasane, will involve several activities including performances to highlight the difficulties disabled people have in playing a full role in society and showcases to celebrate the contributions made by disabled persons as change agents in their communities. Other activities include forums with experts and disabled persons; information campaigns; and an art exhibition by disabled persons. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides opportunities for participation by all stakeholders; Government, the United Nations and civil society to focus on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development agenda. The Day will also provide a forum enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as promoting public awareness of barriers to the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies. The event is organised by the Office of the People with Disabilities in the Office of the President. The main purpose of the Office is to develop and coordinate the implementation of Policies and Programmes aimed at empowering people with disability. ENDS For further information contact: Mr Thomas Motingwa Office of the People with Disabilities, Office of the President Tel: 3958887 E-mail: ttmotingwa@gov.bw
06.12.11
The Office of the Ombudsman, Botswana will host a meeting of the African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA), Southern Africa Region on 28 -29 November 2011 at the Phakalane Golf Resort. The meeting will start at 09:00 hrs and will be officially opened by Honourable Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi. We therefore wish to invite your media house to the opening of this esteemed meeting. This is a regional meeting in preparation for the Association’s General Assembly to be held in Mali in February 2012. The African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA) exists to support and protect the independence and development of African Ombudsman institutions by promoting information exchanges and best practices for the advancement of good governance and human rights in Africa. The Vision of the Association is: “To be a respected and professional association for the promotion of Open, Accountable and Democratic Governance.” This meeting is profoundly significant in the history of the Botswana Ombudsman Office, as this will be the country’s first time to host an event of this magnitude, specifically International Ombudsman Associations. In addition to this, the meeting will also garner the country some points in the international Governance ratings and afford the country an opportunity to interact with other Ombudsmen in the Southern African Region and share country experiences on “Ombudzing”. -ENDS-
06.12.11
Government has expressed grave concern over an incident in which Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela the second may have compromised the Government campaign against the spread of Foot and Mouth disease in Botswana. Botswana Police have reported an incident in which at three o’clock in the morning of October 26th 2011, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela refused to allow a Police Officer to search the four vehicles in which Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela and his delegation of 17 people were travelling, to be searched and inspected upon arrival at the Makalamabedi Foot and Mouth disease control gate. On being attended to at the gate, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela declared to a Police Officer that he and his delegation could not be searched because they were senior or elderly people, resulting in them passing through the Makalamabedi Foot and Mouth disease gate without their property in the vehicles being inspected and searched. Government advises that every person travelling in Botswana regardless of who they are must respect and comply with all measures intended to combat the incidence and spread of animal diseases, especially Foot and Mouth. Government says Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela’s behavior at the Makalamabedi Foot and Mouth disease gate demonstrated a character and demeanor of a person who couldn’t care less about national interests such as the security of the beef industry, upon which the majority of Batswana depend for their livelihood. In this connection Government warns that any person who behaves in a manner that threatens the national interests of Botswana will be dealt with in accordance with the full might of the law. Government calls upon all officials manning animal disease control points to take all necessary steps to ensure full compliance with all search and inspection procedures at the gates without fear or favour.
06.12.11
The Botswana Government Communication and Information Systems (BGCIS), being the body responsible for the coordination of the Government of Botswana’s Public Relations Network, is compelled to respond to the continued publication of false claims by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), which are being circulated in the context of their alleged research into “Most Open and Secretive Government Institutions” and associated “Golden Padlock Award.” For the record we wish to inform the public, both domestic and international, that MISA has never made any information request to BGCIS in the context of said research. Further to the above, we note with dismay that the MISA Regional Office in Windhoek, in a report published on its website, nonetheless claims to have recently sent the following questions to BGCIS: 1. Is the BGCIS able to carry its mandate without interference from top government officials like the Presidency? 2. How much time (number of days) does BGCIS takes to respond to questions from the media? 3. How effective is the information given out by BGCIS with regards to helping the media and other stakeholders? 4. As the central government information dissemination point, how much criticism do BGCIS get, and how much credit for doing a good job do they get? The above questions were certainly never received by us. Had we in fact received them we would have had no hesitation in answering along the following lines: 1. As BGCIS is mandated to speak on behalf of the Government of the Day it is incumbent upon us to seek information and guidance from top officials, including the Presidency, as such the question of interference does not arise. 2. BGCIS aims to achieve a turnaround response time of 24 hours or less. In 2010 our network achieved this target in 92% of recorded cases. 3. Our customers would be in a better position to judge our performance. We can report, however, that our website – www.gov.bw - remains among the local top five, while our regular press circular and other publications have combined circulations in the tens of thousands. 4. As with the previous question, it is difficult to quantify public criticism and credit for our work. We do appreciate that we do not as yet have the capacity to fully achieve our customer satisfaction milestones. Further to the above, we find it absurd as well as dishonest for MISA to accuse us being unwilling to respond to information requests such as the above. We in fact respond to numerous requests from both members of the media and the general public every day of the week. Whenever we cannot respond to a particular enquiry we say so. We further wish to note that we have in the past sent a full list of BGCIS contacts to MISA. We therefore believe that there is no reasonable excuse on MISA’s part for their false claims of having attempted to contact us. They have our cell numbers and e-mails, and should be fully aware of our physical address. We also find it hypocritical and absurd that MISA, along with their partners in slander, has also sought to make an issue out of our non-attendance of their so-called “Golden Padlock Award”. Here we wish to once more note for the record that MISA has in fact never bothered to inform us about, much less invite any member of our senior staff to, the said awards. In September 2011, as in 2010, we only discovered on the eve of their event that MISA had instead invited a number of junior PROs falling under BGCIS to attend. In this respect we make no apology for having instructed the said officers that they should not go to the event, which had been scheduled during working hours, in order to give false legitimacy to a ridiculing award based on bogus research. We also find it amusing that MISA should take umbrage at our guidance of our own staff on the above matter, when for over a decade now they themselves have promoted a boycott of the SADC Media Awards. Finally, in the interest of transparency and openness we are pleased to inform MISA that we have nominated their esteemed NGO to be the recipient of this year’s “Plastic Pinocchio Truthiness Award”. For those unfamiliar with the term, “truthiness” is defined by Miriam-Webster among others as – “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts of facts that are known to be true.”
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