Office of the President (OP)
News/Press Releases
17.01.12
Gaborone, October 14: The Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe says Botswana attaches great importance to her bilateral relations with Cuba. General Merafhe told the Cuban Ambassador to Botswana, Mr. Ramon Alonso Medina, who had paid a courtesy call on him this morning (October 14) that Botswana and Cuba have always enjoyed excellent bilateral relations since establishing diplomatic ties in 1977. The Vice President said Botswana would always be indebted to Cuba for the latter's assistance in the area of public health, particularly in the country's fight against HIV and AIDS scourge, adding that the presence of Cuban health personnel in the country has been a tremendous relief to Botswana. In response, Ambassador Medina expressed Cuba's interest in enhancing cooperation with Botswana in the areas of health, sport and agriculture. The meeting also discussed other areas of common interest between Botswana and Cuba. Ends Masego Ramakgati Vice President's Office Gaborone Mobile: +267 7163 5020 Direct: +267 3181 421 Email: mramakgati@gov.bw
17.01.12
Mo Ibrahim Foundation released its annual Index of African Governance, which as in previous years ranked Botswana 3rd in Africa in terms of our overall Good Governance, just below the island nations of Mauritius and Cape Verde. Our country was also ranked first on the continent in the sub-categories of Accountability and the Rule of Law. In sharp contrast to the negative perceptions of some local critics (but consistent with other findings below), at 76 Botswana’s overall score in the Ibrahim Index has in fact been stable since the annual survey was first published in 2006, underscoring Government’s consistent commitment to human development and public service delivery, as well as adherence to best practice norms of governance and the rule of law. The Ibrahim Index is widely regarded as Africa’s leading assessment of governance. Data for compiling the Index is drawn from 86 indicators grouped into 14 sub-categories and four overarching categories, namely Safety and the Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. Taken together the indicators are designed to measure the effective delivery by Governments of public goods and services to their citizens. In this respect the Index can be seen as a useful external yardstick of this Administration’s own adherence its guiding “5 D” principles of Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery. In the interest of achieving the greatest degree of objectivity, reliability and accountability, the Ibrahim Index is compiled by independent researchers in partnership with an Advisory Council and a Technical Committee that include experts from a wide range of respected African and International institutions, who source their information from 23 aggregated data providers drawing on over 40,000 raw data points. The latest Index is further reported to have included new indicators in the areas physical and telecommunications infrastructure, gender, health, welfare service provision and economic management. To ensure grass roots input into its assessments the Ibrahim Foundation is also partnering with Afrobarometer and Global Integrity South Africa in creating a pan-African databank of citizens’ views and voices on a range of governance issues. In its positive assessment of Botswana's continued record of good governance the latest Mo Ibrahim findings are consistent with other respected international governance monitors, e.g. - •The 2011 Global Peace Index, which assesses countries’ political stability and wellbeing based on such criteria as levels of democracy, transparency, education and material wellbeing, respect for human rights and the rule of law, military expenditure and relations with neighbouring states. With a world ranking of 35 we were placed ahead of France, as well as first in Africa •The World Economic Forums 2011 findings for Institutions, which ranked Botswana 32 in the world, between Taiwan and Israel. •The 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, which for the 15th year in a row ranked Botswana as the least corrupt country in Africa, as well as among the least corrupt in the world, having moved up five places from last year. •The 2011 RESOURCESTOCKS (RS) World Risk Survey of the global mineral sector, which once more ranked Botswana among the world's preferred mineral investment destinations. This year we are tied with Sweden for fourth position in its global rankings. •Fraser Institute, which this year also placed Botswana in its world-wide top ten, as well as first in Africa, as a location for mineral investment. •The continued confidence in Government's prudent management of the economy as reflected in 2011 findings of the IMF, along with Standard and Poors and Moody’s Credit Agencies.
17.01.12
On the (10/10/11) the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi conducted a media tour of poverty eradication projects in Ramotswa. The tour comes after government has realized that media need to get first hand information on poverty eradication projects so as to report on these projects positively. Furthermore there are about 400 000 Batswana are living below the poverty datum line, as such the poverty eradication program targets these households. Notwithstanding these initiatives, the Minister acknowledged the fact that more needs to be done. In addition to representatives of both the public and private media, the Minister was joined on the tour by Assistants Ministers, Keletso Rakhudu, Botlogile Tshireletso and Vincent Seretse, as well as senior officials. The tour began with a viewing of projects which included and overview of progress so far made by backyard gardens in the South East District, whose beneficiaries gave testimonies of how the initiative has transformed their lives for the better. Members of the Press were further briefed on the rollout of alternative packages, such as in such areas as bakery, beekeeping, backyard nurseries, catering and other home based industries. Meanwhile, beneficiaries of additional initiatives displayed and sold their produce to members of the public, while others demonstrated on how to cook different recipes of vegetables which they had produced.
09.12.11
H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, departed for the New York, where on Monday he will deliver the Keynote Address at the Opening of the 10th Session of the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Assembly is to be held at the United Nations Headquarters from the 12th through 21st of December 2011. On Sunday evening His Excellency will also attend the Justice Gala 2011 awards at the Harvard Club in New York, where he is to receive the Justitia Award for Statesman of the Year. The Justitia Award are sponsored by the Berlin based Cinema for Peace Foundation, who this year are partnering with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court “in order to Honour Outstanding achievements in International Justice and Human Rights.” In their letter to the President, the Cinema for Peace Foundation state: “We would like to congratulate you on your leadership in Africa transforming Botswana to a role model state that has freedom of speech, a low corruption rate and a vital economic growth. Especially, we want to express our respect for your achievements to promote justice on an international level. Through your efforts, you have taken a further step to bring your country to international leadership.” The Foundation further cites the words of ICC Deputy Prosecutor Fatour Bensouda, who reported earlier this year that: “Botswana is one of those few countries, especially in Africa, that encourage the work of the ICC and one of the countries that take their responsibility under the ICC Statute very seriously.” In addition to His Excellency, Sunday Night’s Gala will also honour actress Angelina Jolie, as Civic Supporter of the Year, and Benjamin Ference, for Lifetime Achievement. The later individual is being recognized for his efforts in promoting a legal framework for international justice, which date back to his role in the post-Second World War Nuremburg Prosecutions. The Cinema for Peace Foundation, which is currently chaired actor Sean Penn, is driven by an International Committee whose members include film stars, as well as Noble Peace Prize Laureates, international statesmen and activists. Prominent individuals on the committee of this year’s awards thus include, among others: George Clooney, Catherine Deneuve, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bob Geldorf, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Ben Kingsley, Liza Minelli, Liam Neeson, Tim Robbins, Susan Saradon and Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as with Mikhail Gorbachev, Deepak Chopra, Josckha Fischer and the Dalai Lama. The President is scheduled to return to Botswana this coming Tuesday. While he is away the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, the Honourable Ponatshego Kedikilwe, will serve as Acting President.
06.12.11
It is with deepest sorrow and regret that the Office of the Ombudsman announces the untimely death of the founding Ombudsman of Botswana Mr. Lethebe Amos Maine, who passed on, last week Friday (02-12-12) at his horticultural farm, situated in the Kgatleng district. The cause of his death is not yet established; Police investigations are still ongoing. Sadly, the death of Mr. Maine follows that of his successor, Mr. Ofentse Lepodise, who passed away barely two months ago. Born 62 years ago in Mafikeng, South Africa, the late Mr. Maine, was a lawyer and the very first Motswana to be appointed Acting Judge of the High Court and was appointed the first Ombudsman for the Republic of Botswana on 1st December 1997. He served two consecutive 4-year terms as the Ombudsman from December 1997 to November 2005. As the country’s first Ombudsman, Mr. Maine was faced with a mammoth task of establishing the office with no precedent. This entailed a great deal of hard work, which included much networking and benchmarking across the world. He led the Ombudsman office from an infantile stage to an institution with strategic focus by the time he left in 2005. In addition to being Ombudsman for the Republic of Botswana, Mr. Maine contributed significantly to the development of the Ombudsman Institution in Africa and abroad. He served as the President for the Africa Ombudsman Association from 2001 to 2003. He was later appointed Vice President for the International Ombudsman Institute (Africa Region), a world body for Ombudsman Institutions with a membership of over 150 countries. Mr. Maine has also served the local community as Patron of Motswedi Community based Rehabilitation Centre in his home village Mochudi. He also served in the Board of Advisers of International Institute For Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Mr. Lethebe Maine’s career as a lawyer dates back to 1974, when he started as a young State Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers. In 1976, he went into private practice until 1997 when he was appointed the country’s first Ombudsman. Mr. Lethebe Maine is survived by his wife, five children, his mother and seven siblings. His funeral will be held in Gaborone at Phakalane on Friday (09- 12-11). -ENDS- For more information please contact: Fenny E. Letshwiti The Office of Ombudsman Public Relations, TEL: 395 3322., eletshwiti@gov.bw
06.12.11
Transparency International (TI) formally released its annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) on Thursday in Berlin. For the 16th year in a row, Botswana was cited as being the least corrupt country in Africa, as well as among the least corrupt countries in the world. This Office is especially pleased to note that our country’s overall score and ranking have significantly improved in this year’s survey. Botswana was ranked 32 out of 183 countries included in the 2011 survey, up four places from last year and eight places since 2009. Our country overall score this year was 6.1, up from last year’s 5.8 and the 2009 score of 5.4. Botswana's standing thus placed it well within in the top 20% of all surveyed nations, as well as above over half of the nations of Europe. In Africa, Botswana was one of only four countries to score above five, being trailed by Cape Verde (5.5), Mauritius (5.1) and Rwanda (5.0). Of the 53 African countries included in the 2011 survey 37 scored 3 or below, which according to a TI is indicative of high levels of perceived corruption. TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation devoted to fighting corruption worldwide. It annual CPI index reflects the perceptions of business people, academics and risk analysts, both resident and non-resident. It is, moreover, a composite index, drawing on a range of additional expert and business surveys. Botswana's relative success in the annual survey over the years has been attributed to the countries putting into place multiple safeguards, including the establishment of such institutions as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) and the Ombudsman, as well as its constitutionally entrenched provisions for independent oversight by the Auditor General, Parliament and the Judiciary.
06.12.11
With reference to the above, Government wishes to register its dissapointment at the disruption caused at yesterday's World AIDS Day celebrations by the Botswana Network for Ethic, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA). While Government respects BONELA's right to advocate its perspectives, while also reserving our responsibility to agree and disagree with the said perspectives as may be appropriate, we find it most unfortunate that the organisation chose to intrude in an official space during a ceremony to circulate unauthorised material without proper notification. As a matter of simple courtesy we would have expected better from an organisation that has all along been a recognised stakeholder in national efforts to combat the virus. With specific reference to some of the issues raised by BONELA. we further note the follwing: 1. Provision of condoms to prisoners to curb the spread of HIV Government remains committed to protecting prison inmates against HIV and AIDS. The position of the Government of Botswana on condoms and prisons has not changed as it is informed international as well as domestic, practice, norms and ethics governing prisons, as well as domestic law. Sodomy in prisons is simply not tolerated here or elsewhere. We would further observe that Botswana provides health care services in prisons within the confines of the Public Health Act, the Prisons Act and other relevant pieces of legislation such as the Penal Code, and the Prisons HIV and AIDS Policy. The policy environment for provision of services in prisons is guided by the Public Health Act, National Policy on HIV and AIDS and the National Health Policy. In addition to counseling and testing, prison inmates have access to TB treatment, ART, Safe Male Circumcision and Community Home Based Care. 2. Involvement of homosexuals and sex workers in all HIV interventions Government is aware that people of different sexual orientations such as homosexuals are at high risk of HIV infection due to a number of reasons. This fact alone does not suggest a wholesale reaction that will contravene existing laws and policies. In this context the provision of of HIV intervention services does not exclude anybody on the basis of their sexual orientation. With respect to BONELA's call for the Decriminalization of sex work, we wish to note that as is the case in most countries sex work is illegal in Botswana. Notwithstanding this fact, we again do not exclude anybody from our HIV/AIDS interventions on the basis of alleged involvement in sex work. Further to the above The Modes of Transmission study we conducted in 2010 tells us that new infections are more likely to occur in heterosexual relationships especially among married, cohabiting or long-term relations, estimated to be 56.4%. The study estimated that sex workers contribute 5%, men having sex with other men 5%, while injecting drug users contribute 1.5% of new HIV infections. While we have not turned a blind eye to these seemingly smaller contributions, we believe our attention ought to concentrate where new infections are likely to occur most, and that is what we have been doing. In delivering Keynote Address at the World AIDS Day in Moshupa yesterday His Excellency the President, Lt. General Ian Khama Seretse Khama reaffirmed that Government with the support of other partners has been providing services to Most at Risk Populations and ‘programming for some of these population groups is already taking place through various partners and institutions. We do this, mindful that our programmes are underpinned by the country’s laws, policies, values and moral principles’. 3. PMTCT to foreign Women expectant with Batswana men Botswana Government does not provide PMTCT to foreign women who are expectant with Batswana children since ARVs are only provided for citizens. However, there is access to PMTCT for foreign women impregnated by Batswana men at a cost. This we hold is reasonable and in keeping with international practice as well as domestic capacity. 4. Provision of foreign inmates with antiretroviral drugs for treatment to prevent the spread of ARVs. According to the National ARV Guidelines, only Batswana inmates are provided with ARVs as part of its obligation to its citizenry.As a developing country, Botswana does not have the capacity to extend free ARVs to none citizens. Government is aware that foreign inmates who are not able to access ARV treatment have the opportunity to infect those in their sexual networks with HIV including the Batswana inmates. However the need to provide to citizens first overrides the desire to extend some of these expensive services to non-Batswana. 5. Provision of refugees with ARVs Refugees and asylum seekers at refugee camps in Dukwi are being provided with ARV treatment through Non- Governmental Organizations. 6. Discrimination The provisions of the law in relation to safe working environment places an obligation on employers to ensure that discrimination and victimization of workers living with HIV do not take place at the workplace. The national HIV and AIDS policy places an obligation on employers to ensure that infected workers are not discriminated against or subjected to stigmatization. On the other hand, In the area of stigma and discrimination, Botswana has done fairly well over the years. We have seen Batswana become more tolerant and accepting of People Living with HIV and AIDS.
06.12.11
The highly anticipated meeting of the African Ombudsman & Mediators Association (AOMA), Southern Africa Region, commenced yesterday on a high note at Phakalane Golf Resort and will end today on the 29 November 2011. The meeting was officially opened by Honourable Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi. In his opening remarks, the Minister expressed that among others, the AOMA meeting must provide the country of Botswana an opportunity to reflect long and hard about how to make the institution much more effective and relevant to the people of Botswana. He said the role of the Ombudsman should continue to be premised on justice, equity and fairness. The Minister highlighted that AOMA has a unique challenge and opportunity to play a critical role in helping rebuild the battered image of governance throughout Africa and concluded by saying that he expects practical solution to come out of the conference that will drive to action. The Acting Ombudsman of Botswana, Ms. Matshidiso Bokole asserted that she is delighted that Botswana is the host of the prestigious event, as the country was active in the formation of the Association, which demonstrates that Botswana has contributed significantly to the Ombudsman movement in Africa and the world. Ms. Bokole said the Government of Botswana is committed to good governance under the country’s National Vision 2016 goals and affirmed that the most relevant pillar for the Office of the Ombudsman is that of An Open, Democratic and Accountable Nation. Advocate Thulisile N. Madonsela, Executive Secretary of AOMA, also the Public Protector of South Africa AOMA, reiterated her sincere condolences on behalf of the Republic of South Africa and AOMA, to the Botswana Ombudsman Office and to the people of Botswana, for the untimely demise of their colleague, the late Mr. Ofentse Lepodise, Ombudsman of Botswana. The Executive Secretary said the meeting was the first Southern Africa Regional Meeting of its kind and also marks a historical milestone in the evolution of AOMA as a home and networking forum for the African Ombudsman. She said the meeting is in pursuit of a decision they took at the Executive Committee meeting of AOMA in Addis Ababa, with a view to strengthening regions as crucibles for consolidating AOMA’s presence and impact on the continent. At a welcome dinner organized for the delegates, Member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Robert Masitara affirmed his appreciation of the magnificent role the Ombudsman institution plays in promoting good administration and human rights. He said the institution is democratic and pointed out that countries without it are frowned on, by the democratic community of nations, as wanting in transparency, accountability and respect for human. Mr. Masitara lamented that worthy of emphasis is the fact that for Ombudsman institutions to thrive and be effective, they need to be supported with adequate financial and human resources, and an environment conducive for them to act independently in their operations. AOMA is holding 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 is 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- For more information please contact: Fenny E. Letshwiti The Office of Ombudsman Public Relations, TEL: 395 3322., eletshwiti@gov.bw
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