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"REPORT CARD 2010 - Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe"
"REPORT CARD 2010 - Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe"

Towards the end of year 2010, the Office of His Honour, the Vice President wishes to highlight some of the important events that dominated the Diary of His Honour, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe, and also forecast on what the Office intends to achieve in the near future.
It is significant, therefore, that this Office captures, some of the assignments carried out by Vice President Merafhe, as mandated by His Excellency,  President Lt. General  Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
In essence, His Honour, the Vice President assists His Excellency, the President in the performance of Executive functions as provided for in the Constitution.
In fact, Vice President Merafhe is responsible for the review of the performance of the Ministries every six months.
He has also been assigned to coordinate Government's Flagship Programmes of Poverty Eradication and Economic Diversification Drive (EDDs), in addition to chairing the Cabinet Committee on Economy and Employment (CCEE), which meets on a monthly basis.
The coordination of the Flagship Programmes follows the 2009 State of the Nation Address by President Khama, which underscores the importance of eradicating poverty and promoting procurement of locally produced
goods and services.  
The CCEE on the other hand monitors and evaluates the reports by the Hubs and various Ministries, before reporting back to the Economic Committee of the Cabinet, which meets every month under the chairmanship of President Khama to discuss the reports presented by the Hubs and Ministries in line with the Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) Action Items.
But this is only the beginning of a long journey through Vice President's 2010 Diary. This is not to say that the Vice President's assignment is limited to the Flagship Programmes, since in fact he has been assigned to various international fora within and beyond the Continent of Africa.
Similarly, he has also been taking part in domestic engagements as the Vice President and a Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West.
But the analogy can be extended further than that, for whenever and wherever Vice President Merafhe engaged with Batswana and global citizens, he would walk the talk.
The Vice President has also been addressing a series of kgotla meetings throughout the country to consult and inform on various Government policies and programmes and receive a feedback.
His focus has been on contemporary challenges such as poverty eradication, unemployment, economic diversification, youth and women empowerment, as well as trade and investment promotion.
That is perhaps why there is commitment by the public and private sectors to implement some of the government projects.
Just as the year 2010 is coming to a close, it is important to take a cursory look at some events which resonate well with the Government's commitment to promote development, democracy, dignity and delivery, as espoused in the 2009 State of the Nation Address.
Early January, Vice President Mohamed Hamid Ansari of India paid a three-day Official Visit to Botswana at the invitation of Vice President Merafhe. During this high-level Visit, Botswana and India signed pacts on agriculture and education to further strengthen excellent relations between the two countries. Vice President Ansari was accompanied by a business delegation and BEDIA is reported to be attracting some of the Indian investors to set up in Botswana.
The Indian Vice President also undertook a tour of Chobe, where he was mesmerized by Botswana's unique tourism offering. In this regard, he promised to lure Indian film makers to consider Botswana as a destination of choice for exotic film production.
Vice President Merafhe attended the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in February. The Summit discussed issues related to governance and development.
Still in February, he addressed a kgotla meeting in Moshupa and also held a meeting with the Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance
(IDEA) Secretary General, Mr. Vidar Helgesen and UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibe. Vice President Merafhe also serves as the Leader of the House and vice chairperson of the National Aids Council (NAC).
In March, the Vice President met with the President of Junior Chamber International (JCI), Mr. Rowland Kwemain, and discussed issues related to youth empowerment, particularly in business-related activities.
Still in March, the meeting with BLLAWU discussed issues pertaining to the commencement of the Public Service Act. 
The month of April saw the Vice President perform the official opening of the old Apostolic Church in Mogoditshane where he noted the important role played by the Church in mitigating the socio-economic challenges facing our various communities. 
The Vice President also performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the Bridgetown Resort in Kazungula where he underscored the importance of promoting tourism and investment opportunities in the country.
Officiating at the annual Botswana Small Medium and Micro Enterprises
(SMME) Fair in Gaborone in April, Vice President Merafhe reiterated Government's commitment to promote and develop SMMEs through the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) initiative.
The Vice President also addressed a series of kgotla meetings in his constituency, Mahalapye West where he appealed to his constituents to make use of government program.
In May, when officiating at the NHASORC II in Gaborone, Vice President Merafhe highlighted Government's efforts to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS pandemic. 
In his interaction with BOCCIM in May, the Vice President underscored the importance of public service delivery to ensure and sustain a very conducive environment for investment and business enterprise.
At the National Aids Council held in June, the Vice President in his capacity as Acting Chairperson of the Council expressed optimism at the strides attained by the country in decreasing the incidence rate of HIV/AIDS infection.
The four-day Official Visit to India mid June culminated in the signing of an MoU between LEA and NSIC as well as opening of BEDIA Liaison Office in India's commercial capital of Mumbai. Vice President Merafhe also held meetings with Government and India's business community in a bid to promote trade and investment between Botswana and India.
Still in June, the Vice President received a delegation from Duma (Russian Parliament) and the discussions focused on areas of trade, investment and cultural exchange.
This was followed by the launch of CEDA Brand in Gaborone, where emphasis was placed on the importance of promoting local entrepreneurs and SMMEs through various programmes in place.
Attending a church service at the Saint John's Apostolic Faith Mission in Sebina in June, Vice President Merafhe commended the Church for
playing a pivotal role in the development of our communities.  
The July meeting with the Chairman of Norlisk Nickel, Mr. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky culminated in the latter's commitment to explore long-term investment opportunities in Botswana.
Still in the month of  July, Vice President Merafhe held a meeting with the Executive Director of Remmogo Youth Organisation, Mr. Kagiso Morebodi, who informed about their decision to embark on a project geared at promoting road safety as well as drug and substance free society.
The Vice President also embarked on a four day Official Visit to China.
During the Visit, he officiated at the Botswana Stall at Shanghai Expo, he encouraged Chinese businesses to invest in Botswana. 
The visit was followed by the AU Summit in Kampala, Uganda where he joined African Heads of State and Government in their deliberation about issues related to democracy, development and promotion of information
and communications technology.  
Early August, the Vice President in his capacity as Leader of the House held a meeting with the Chairman of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Puso Gaborone and exchanged views on various issues of mutual interest, including enhancing the role of Dikgosi in promoting various Government programmes.
Vice President Merafhe also officiated at the annual BOCCIM Business Golf Day where he reiterated Government's commitment to promote investment opportunities.
Still in August, he officiated at the Fundraising Dinner for the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind in Gaborone, where he appealed to the business community and the general public to assist Government in providing and caring for People With Disabilities, in line with the Vision 2016 ideal of a compassionate and caring nation.
Officiating at the Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference in Gaborone, Vice president Merafhe informed about Government's commitment to ensuring the sector's growth, with linkages to tourism and investment opportunities.
In September, the Vice President embarked on a tour of Banyana Farms in the Kgalagadi area where he raised concern about the performance of the project and informed about Government's decision to lease some parts of the Farm to private entrepreneurs to make it viable.  He also held a kgotla meeting in Mabule where he briefed about various Government programmes.
Vice President Merafhe also officiated at the National AIDS Council in Gaborone where he hailed the country's response to HIV/AIDS pandemic, noting successes in the decline in the incidence rate.
Officiating at the annual Vision 2016 Awareness month in Jackalas Number
1 where he informed about Government programmes and policies geared towards addressing the needs of Batswana in line with the ideals of the National Vision. 
Still in September, the Vice President launched the Barclays Bank Botswana Destitute Housing Project in Moshaneng, where he commended Barclays Bank for responding to Government's call for support in addressing the growing needs of Batswana and also appealed to the private sector and the public in general to draw inspiration from the Bank, and contribute towards the overall development of the country.
Vice President Merafhe was among world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, where he addressed and chaired the High Level Plenary on the Review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He also addressed the General Assembly and intervened in a number of Roundtable sessions in which he shared Botswana's processes in the journey towards the attainment of the MDGs.
This was followed by his two-day Official Visit to one of Africa's economic giants, Nigeria where he joined world leaders at the commemoration of the country's 50th Independence celebrations.
In October, the Vice President also addressed a series of highly successful kgotla meetings in Sehitwa, Gumare and Maun to inform about Government's decision on the buffer zone to protect the country from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). 
Officiating at the Botswana Caucus for Women in Politics in Palapye, Vice President Merafhe encouraged women politicians to strive for enhanced representation by women in parliament and council.
The Vice President also launched a Backyard Garden Campaign as part of the International Poverty Eradication Day in Selebi-Phikwe where he appealed for mindset change and collective efforts in the fight against poverty.
Vice President Merafhe also expressed optimism about Government's commitment to address the problem of power shortage when officiating at Morupule Colliery Expansion in Palapye in October.
Briefing the media on the Government Flagship Programmes of poverty eradication and economic diversification drive in Gaborone, the Vice President reiterated Government's commitment to eradicate poverty and
promote the growth and development of Batswana businesses.  
At the reception in honour of members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi in Gaborone, there was a dialogue on the various Government programmes and the role of Dikgosi in the promotion of such programmes including poverty eradication and economic diversification drive initiative.
Still in October, the Vice President hosted the highly successful Pitso Ya Nyeletso Lehuma in Mahalapye. During the launch, President Khama and Vice President Merafhe set the tone for deliberation on the programme, including the roadmap to poverty eradication.
The month of November saw the official launch of another flagship programme of EDD by Vice President Merafhe, who reiterated Government's commitment to promote local entrepreneurs in an effort to eradicate poverty and create wealth.
Officiating at the Seminar on Electoral Systems Design, the Vice President encouraged Members of Parliament to assess various electoral systems and discern on the one suitable for Botswana, based on informed decision.
In November, Vice President Merafhe invited his counterpart, Vice President XI of the People's Republic of China. During the highly successful visit, the two leaders deliberated on various issues of mutual interest and also witnessed the signing of various pacts on investment, partnerships and financial and technical assistance. 
Responding to the State of the Nation Address early December, Vice President Merafhe in his capacity as the Leader of the House raised concern about some of the challenges facing the country such as poverty and unemployment; He also informed about Government's efforts to address them.
Still in December, Vice President Merafhe, as a Patron of Serowe-based Premier Soccer League outfit, Miscellaneous Sporting Club hosted a fundraising reception for the team, where he and 15 other individuals and companies made pledges to the tune of P516 000 in a short ceremony at his Official Residence.
He also hosted a Christmas Party for the Children of Mahalapye in an effort to interact with them and appreciate their concerns and aspirations. The Vice President also donated a wheelchair to a Mahalapye resident, Mrs. Tshenolo Raditsebe in December.

Looking Ahead
In an effort to successfully achieve various projects in place, this Office has set itself targets for the coming year, which include the rolling out of the Poverty Eradication programme and EDD initiative, including monitoring and evaluation as well as a comprehensive mobilization and communications strategy to ensure regular briefings and interactions with all stakeholders with regard to the progress on the Flagship Programmes. 

This Office will also provide an update, through media and stakeholder briefings on the Vice President's internal and external engagements, not only as Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West, but also as a statesman. 
In a nutshell, this has been a hectic, yet successful year for the Vice President. It is important to note that Vice President Merafhe has been able to make an impact on major internal and external assignments, including creating opportunities for many stakeholders he interacted with. What remains is the monitoring and evaluation of some of the initiatives which emerged from his intervention, including efforts to ensure their sustainability.