Office of the President (OP)
News/Press Releases
19.06.12
In its continued effort to contribute to the empowerment of communities, His Excellency the President, Members of Cabinet and Office of the President staff will this month mark the Community Service Day at Gaborone Centre for Disabled, Block 8 (Lot. 37233). The day will be commemorated on Friday, 22nd June 2012 at 08:00 hrs. The Gaborone Disabled Persons Society has a plot which they would like to use for various projects including a Modified Garden for People with Disabilities. This garden will enable People with Disabilities to be trained in backyard farming skills for economic empowerment purposes. Activities for the day will be building special gardens for wheel chair users and visually impaired people, and planting the garden. Members of the media are therefore invited to this event. Should you require additional information on this event, kindly contact Ms Charmaine Revaka on 3133048.
15.06.12
Public Service Convention will be held next week on the 21st and 22nd of June at Fairground holdings with the theme “Innovation in Citizen Engagement and Effective Governance". In addition, on Saturday morning of the 23rd of June there will be an Inter-Ministerial Football Match between public servants at UB stadium. Public Service Conventions have been convened periodically over the years as opportunities for civil servants operating at various levels across Government to come together in order to show case best practices in improving their service delivery, while examining overarching strategic issues. In this respect, this year’s Convention will, among other things, focus on issues related to the roll out of E-Government and the opportunities and challenges associated with Botswana’s transformation as a global mines to market diamond centre. The Convention will also be an opportunity to discuss Public Service reforms in the context of such factors as implementation of the Public Service Act, the need for rightsizing of the Public Service and financial constraints brought on by the global economic downturn. Also included as part of the Conference are exhibitions by Ministries and Departments that will show-case innovation in customer service over time. Particular emphasis will be given to the provision of e-services. Members of the public are invited to come and view the exhibitions and further interact with public service providers, while giving their own feedback on current service delivery and ways to improve it. Botswana Public Service Day This year’s Public Service Convention activities will also for the first time in Botswana include events to formally celebrate Public Service Day. In December of 2002, the United Nations General Assembly designated the 23rd of June of each year as Public Service Day, in order to highlight the contribution of public service in the development of member states. Many public service organizations around the world have since come to celebrate the day by holding various events that recognize the valuable role that public servants must play. This year’s Convention will thus include a number of awards, which will culminate in an Excellence Award Dinner on Thursday evening, where outstanding employees will be honoured. Additional awards categories include WITS projects winners, best Ministry performance and best student essay competition winners.
07.06.12
The Office of the President wishes to respond to recent media reports surrounding the Presidential pardon granted to three members of the BDF who were convicted of killing John Kalafatis. Whilst it is not in dispute that the President acted within the confines of the law and in exercise of the powers vested in him by the Constitution, which everyone seems to be aware of, it would appear there are some quarters who seek to challenge the decision taken by the President in this matter. The motivation of this is clearly to try to discredit the government and the President. We wish to remind those concerned that HE the President has so far pardoned 2008 prisoners, 6 of whom had been convicted of murder. It is therefore not the first time that His Excellency exercises the powers vested in him by the Constitution under Section 53. Previously, before President Khama took office, the prerogative of mercy had been exercised in accordance with Section 53 of our Constitution where on at least two occasions members of the security forces were pardoned after being convicted of murder. This was done following a thorough assessment of the plea for clemency as presented by those representing the convicted persons. The present case was subjected to a similar process. It is therefore extremely disturbing that the media and some members of the public want to create the impression that the President just woke up one day and decided to grant pardon to the three convicted men when in actual fact a proper assessment was done and due process of law followed. The unjustified sensationalism created by these reports would not be there had those concerned taken the liberty to explain to those they aim to misinform that the three convicts have been granted a conditional pardon as opposed to a free one. That way they would have realized that the conditions attached to the pardon granted are a result of a careful and thorough assessment that was made prior to the pardon being granted. It is regrettable that all too often the media in their agenda to discredit President Khama conveniently fail to seek the facts and inevitably end up embarrassing themselves by misinforming the public.
07.06.12
His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, opened a three-day Poverty Eradication Workshop at Diphuduhudu. Participants in the workshop include over one thousand current and potential beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication Programme, who have been drawn from all 67 of the country’s gazetted Remote Area Settlements. Also present are some 500 additional participants from concerned Government departments and other community stakeholders. To accommodate the influx, a temporary tent city has been erected in Diphuduhudu through the support of the BDF. At the workshop, participants are engaged in a holistic training programme focused on inculcating basic life skills in production processes, marketing strategies, financial literacy; and effective networking and clustering. The goal of the intensive training is to give programme beneficiaries the skills foundation they need to successfully start-up and grow micro-enterprises into sustainable sources livelihood and economic empowerment. In his opening remarks President Khama commended the training for it pragmatic approach in incorporating live demonstrations to better ensure a positive transformation of mind and mindset. He further observed that “through prudent management and further life skills training, the beneficiaries will be guided to upgrade their business from micro or small scale enterprises by seeking loans from CEDA, NDB or the commercial banks.” The President also noted that similar workshops are now being planned for all districts in the country as part of the Phase Two rollout of Government’s Poverty Eradication strategy. He also used the occasion to announce that by the end the current financial year Government’s target is to have assisted a total of at least 13,000 beneficiaries, which should translate into also supporting approximately 52,000 family members. This will be achieved by the rollout of alternative packages such as such as beekeeping, textiles, leather works, landscaping, food packaging, and agro-processing, in addition to some 8000 backyard gardens. To further support programme beneficiaries and other small scale citizen entrepreneurs, Khama further announced that Cabinet has directed that normal procurement regulations by both central government and local authorities should be waived for such producers, emphasising that procuring entities shall thus be expected to fully implement the Cabinet Directive. The President concluded his remarks today by introducing members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee for Poverty Eradication, which is chaired by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi. The Sub-Committee is further comprised of the Honourable Assistant Ministers of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. Gloria Somolekae; Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso; Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse; Education, Keletso Rakhudu, and Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi. The Sub-Committee, which meets regularly, is driving the Poverty Eradication Programme with the support of an inter-ministerial task team of senior officials led by a coordinating Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Dr. John Mothibi. Besides being a milestone in the war against poverty, the Diphuduhudu gathering is aligned with Government’s enhanced commitment to grass roots driven affirmative action for Remote Area Dwellers in line with the stakeholder commitments that emerged from last year’s Pitso in Ghanzi.
07.06.12
1. An Extraordinary Session of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held in Luanda, Republic of Angola on 1st June 2012. 2. The Summit was officially opened by H.E. Eng. José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola and the Chairperson of SADC. 3. Summit observed a minute of silence in memory of the late President of Malawi, H.E. Bingu wa Mutharika and extended condolences to the family, people and Government of Malawi. 4. The Summit was attended by the following Heads of State and Government and their representatives: AngolaH.E. President José Eduardo dos Santos BotswanaH.E. President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama NamibiaH.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba South AfricaH.E. President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma Swaziland His Majesty King Mswati III ZambiaH.E. President Michael Chilufya Sata ZimbabweH.E. President Robert Gabriel Mugabe United RepublicRt. Hon. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania DRC Hon. Raymond Tshibanda N’Tungamulongo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Franchophonie MalawiHon. Ephraim Mganda Chiume, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation MauritiusDr the Hon. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade MozambiqueHon. Aldemiro Baloi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation SeychellesHon. Jean Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs LesothoH.E. ´Matlotilso Ntoane, High Commissioner to South Africa 5. H.E. President dos Santos welcomed the Heads of State and Government and other delegates to the Republic of Angola. In his speech, the Chairperson of SADC underscored the importance of regional infrastructure development as one of the key pillars for the SADC integration and development agenda and for poverty eradication. 6. Summit considered and adopted the Report of the Troika of the Organ Summit that met on 1st June 2012 in Luanda, Angola, which reviewed the political and security situation in the Region. In particular: 6.1 Summit noted that the Region continues to consolidate democracy and the rule of law as reflected in the holding of successful elections in a number of Member States. In this regard, Summit congratulated: (i) H.E. President James Alix Michel for winning Presidential Elections in the Seychelles in September 2011. (ii) H.E. President Michael Chilufya Sata for winning the Presidential Elections in Zambia, in September 2011, and (iii) H.E. President Joseph Kabila Kabange for winning the Presidential Elections held in the DRC in November 2011. 6.2 Summit commended the people of Lesotho for holding peaceful, free and fair National Assembly Elections on May 26, 2012. 6.3 Summit received an update on the positive political and security situation in DRC and encouraged the Government of DRC to continue consolidating peace and democracy. 6.4 On Madagascar, Summit noted that efforts by the SADC Mediation team, led by former President of Mozambique, H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano and the SADC Organ Troika resulted in the signing, in September 2011 by ten of the eleven Malagasy stakeholders, of the Roadmap that seeks to return the country to constitutional normalcy. Summit reiterated the importance of the full implementation of the Roadmap for ending the crisis in the country. 6.5 Summit mandated the SADC Mediator and the Troika of the Organ to facilitate dialogue and convene a meeting between H.E. Andry Rajoelina, President of the High Transition Authority and H.E Marc Ravalomanana, former President as a matter of urgency in order to ensure full implementation of the Roadmap and create an enabling environment for holding credible, free and fair elections. 6.6 Summit also noted that the SADC Liaison Office that was established in November 2011 to support the implementation process is fully operational with officers from the Troika of the Organ Member States and office of the Chairperson of SADC on the ground since January 2012. 6.7 On Malawi, Summit commended the people of this country for adhering to the country’s constitutional provisions regarding succession following the demise of H.E President Bingu wa Mutharika on the 5th April 2012. 6.8 Summit congratulated Her Excellency President Mrs. Joyce Mtila-Banda for ascending to the position of President of Malawi on the 7th of April 2012. 6.9 On Zimbabwe, Summit commended stakeholders for their commitment, cooperation and efforts towards the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and urged the parties to the GPA to finalise the constitution-making process and subject it to a referendum thereafter. 6.10 Summit also urged the parties to the GPA, assisted by His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and SADC Facilitator of the Zimbabwe Political Dialogue, to develop an implementation mechanism and to set out time frames for the full implementation of the Roadmap to Elections. 6.11 Summit further commended the Facilitator for his efforts towards the realisation of full implementation of GPA. 7. Summit noted a proposal from the Chairperson of SADC, based on a Concept Paper on the need to develop a SADC Vision 2050 and referred the matter to Member States for further consultations and contributions. Inputs from this process will be consolidated and submitted to Council and Summit at the next meeting in August 2012. 8. Summit reiterated its support for the candidature of Honourable Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa for the position of the Chairperson of African Union Commission. 9. Summit noted that the Government of Malawi reaffirmed its commitment to host the AU Summit in July 2012. In reaffirming its support for Malawi as a host for the next AU Summit in July 2012, Summit underscored the need to finalise the election of Members of the AU Commission during the session. 10. Summit noted that the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) is being finalised to form the basis for implementing infrastructure networks in the key sectors such as energy, transport, including maritime corridors Information and Communications Technology, tourism and water, taking into account the specificities of island Member States. 11. Summit directed the Council of Ministers and in particular, the SADC Ministers responsible for Finance and Investment to expedite the process for the establishment of the SADC Development Fund in order to, among other things, ensure the availability of adequate levels of resources to fund regional infrastructure programmes. 12. Summit expressed its unequivocal support to the candidature of Namibia to host the Green Climate Fund Secretariat under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCC) and also requested that the candidature be submitted to the AU Summit in Lilongwe for endorsement. 13. Summit commended the Government and people of the Republic of Angola for the successful hosting of the Extraordinary Summit and expressed gratitude for the generous hospitality. LUANDA, ANGOLA 1ST JUNE 2012
01.06.12
The Government of Botswana, in partnership with Conservation International (CI), announced the endorsement of the Gaborone Declaration by ten African countries and numerous public and private sector partners from within and outside Africa. The Declaration, a set of concrete principles and development goals focused on the value of natural capital in sustainable development, is the culmination of discussions held over the two-day Summit for Sustainability in Africa held in Gaborone, a first of its kind on the continent. Among the agreements were two key conclusions: first, leaders reached unanimous consensus that the historical pattern of natural resources exploitation has failed to promote sustained growth, environmental integrity and improved social capital and has even been counter-productive; second, they agreed that the value of natural capital, or the wealth of benefits and services provided to people by biodiversity and ecosystems, must be fully accounted and integrated into national and corporate planning and reporting practices, policies and programs. The Gaborone Declaration represents an immense success for public-private leadership in establishing a global movement focusing on the value of ecosystem services and natural capital to enable economic growth and provide food, climate, water, cultural, and health security to people. It reaffirmed African nations’ commitments to implement all conventions and declarations that promote sustainable development and additionally committed them to annual reporting, “to ensure that the contributions of natural capital to sustainable economic growth, maintenance and improvement of social capital and human well-being are quantified and integrated into development and business practice.” His Excellency Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the President of the Republic of Botswana and co-host of the summit, was a driving force behind the commitment to reporting and announced countries’ endorsement of the Gaborone Declaration at the close of the event’s second day. In his remarks closing the Summit he noted: "I am particularly delighted that we leave this Summit with a strong and robust commitment to give life to the good ideas that came from the debates of yesterday and today, and to scale up the commitments contained in the Gaborone Declaration across the whole African continent and indeed the wider world. Of particular note, the Gaborone Declaration specifically warned that “economic growth and human well-being in Africa will be threatened if we do not undertake concerted action to halt and reverse the degradation and loss of healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, and to enhance society’s ability to adapt to climate change and environmental risks and scarcities.” An addendum Communiqué to the Gaborone Declaration focused on “the limitations of GDP as a measure of well-being and sustainable growth that values environmental and social aspects of progress”, and invited governments and their accounting bodies to, among other goals, “Develop science-based methodologies on an experimental basis for ecosystem accounting as a complement to GDP and corporate performance.” Natural capital accounting, which incorporates the financial value of ecosystem services and biodiversity to countries’ measures of economic strength, is a relatively new way of viewing the balance sheets of governments and businesses. Leaders in Gaborone therefore recognized the still major differences between African countries to currently implement natural capital accounting into their national accounts and expressly recognized the need for improved data collection and capacity building between them. Peter Seligmann, CEO and Chairman of Conservation International and co-host of the Summit singled out President Khama and his administration’s leadership and expressed his appreciation and admiration for the deep and personal engagement of all the nations and partners involved. “What we have achieved has been a statement that really underscores the importance of valuing natural capital and the endorsement of ten key nations in committing to the valuation of natural capital as a means for making intelligent decisions about the future land use of their territories and their nations for the well being and benefit for all their citizens. This is a very big deal, a very big moment and a big step forward. It is truly a beacon on the hill for the rest of societies and it will be held up on top of that hill in Rio de Janiero.” While still a relatively new approach, business, governments and multilateral organizations which understand the direct connections between healthy ecosystems and human well being hope the public support of the Gaborone Declaration will set in motion broader, global strategies that will reduce risk and ensure flows from these important natural assets. To accomplish this, representatives attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month will leverage the newly signed Declaration as a roadmap and example of what can be accomplished as African nations unify and work together in the pursuit of aligned development goals. The World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development, Rachel Kyte, who also participated in the Summit, congratulated leaders for their strong commitments to action. “African leadership on sustainable development makes complete sense. The natural wealth of the continent and its peoples can sustain Africa and the world. First to use natural capital accounting to make long term planning and investment decisions, Africa acts while others talk.” Heads of State and Government from the nations of Botswana, Rwanda, Liberia, Namibia and Mozambique were joined by Ministers from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Norway and global leaders from the private and public sector, as well as civil society. These leaders came from various groups including the World Bank, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, World Vision, MacArthur Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, Woolworths, ArcelorMittal and other key participants. Dr. Charles Owubah, a Regional Vice President of World Vision East Africa, also expressed support for leaders’ commitments in Gaborone. "We cannot continue to neglect the value of natural capital accounting; and we cannot continue to under-value its utility to building resilience among vulnerable communities in Africa." The plenary addresses and panel discussion can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/KKdKDH
01.06.12
The President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is in Botswana for a five day official visit, today lauded Botswana as a "model for all Africa and I daresay beyond" while attending a luncheon in her honour. President Johnson-Sirleaf further observed that Botswana has become an inspiration and international benchmark based on the country's outstanding record of maintaining peace and democracy while achieving sound economic growth and development. The Liberian President further praised Botswana for its leadership role in promoting democratic values internationally. In her remarks she also noted that in the past she enjoyed the friendship and support of former Presidents Festus Mogae and Sir Ketumile Masire, and was happy to now be working together with President Khama, since his 2011 visit to Liberia. Noting that her country was rebuilding after years of devastating conflict, she welcomed Botswana's willingness to assist by sharing its insights and expertise. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf was responding to remarks by President Khama [full text previously forwarded], who had expressed his own delight to be hosting her on her first official visit to Botswana as the President of the Republic of Liberia. President Khama further noted that her visit was a testament to the fraternal and friendly relations that exist between our two countries, which are premised on shared values and principles of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and a common vision to secure a better future for humanity. He further expressed his gratitude for the warm reception that had been accorded to him and his delegation during his own first official visit to Liberia in August 2011. The President also commended the Liberian President for the progress being achieved in Liberia under her leadership, noting that Liberia has recorded economic growth rates averaging 6% between 2008 and 2011, while greatly improving its ranking by Transparency International. Prior to the State Luncheon the two leaders met this morning for official talks, which focused on potential partnership in such areas as mineral and agricultural development and human resource training.
01.06.12
Her Excellency the President of the Republic of Liberia, Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be in Botswana for a three day State Visit at the invitation of His Excellency President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. Her Excellency and her entourage are expected to arrive at Sir Seretse Khama Airport on Sunday 20th May 2012 at 16.45hrs and will be met by His Excellency President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. On Monday President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will meet with President Seretse Ian Khama at the Office of the President before departing for the State luncheon which be hosted by President Seretse Khama Ian Khama in her honour. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will then visit the Otse Police College where she will be met by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Hon. Dikgakgamatso R. Seretse in the afternoon. Other places where Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be visiting whilst in Botswana are Jwaneng Mine and Oodi College of Applied Arts and Technology. After Her Excellency’s official State visit she will join other Heads of State who will be in Botswana for the Summit for Sustainability in Africa at the GICC. Please be advised that all press is invited and is expected to be in position at the various events on time. You are also advised to please bring your press passes and Omang to allow you access to the VVIP lounge and other venues where the Excellencies will be. All late comers will be denied entry so PLEASE come early. I look forward to seeing you all. Maleta Mogwe (Ms) Press Secretary to the President Gaborone
Copyright © 2011 Government of Botswana. All rights reserved.