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Inside the Presidency-Issue No. 3 of 2011
07/03/11
Inside the Presidency-Issue No. 3 of 2011

Maintaining a Legacy of Delivery

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency. Today H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will be convening another of his periodic meetings with all Permanent Secretaries. These gatherings allow the public service leadership to collectively share their perspectives with His Excellency in order to gain a greater common understanding of the challenges Government as a whole faces in the implementation of its policies, programmes and initiatives, while achieving service delivery targets.

On Monday, His Excellency’s week began on a high note when he joined leading Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) members in celebrating the organisation’s 49th birthday. The event marked the occasion on the 28th of February 1962 when delegates from around the country came together under a large morula tree, in what was then the outskirts of Gaborone Railway station, to hold the party’s founding Congress.

On that occasion, the Party elected its first executive led by Seretse Khama and Ketumile Masire, who would together go on to respectively serve as the country’s first and second Presidents. The event was hastily held at Gaborone when delegates were unable to convene at their originally scheduled venue of Mochudi due to royalist concerns about the emerging nationalist movement.

In his remarks at this week’s celebration His Excellency stressed that the ruling party has retained power over decades by remaining dynamic and responsive to public concerns, while adhering to its founding principles of upholding democracy. He further paid tribute to the party veterans present, noting that they had helped lay a solid foundation for it to achieve its status as one of the most successful governing parties in the world.

The President’s Monday schedule also included his chairing of Cabinet and briefings from the Independent Elections Committee and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The latter meeting focused on the Ministry’s efforts, in partnership with other Government stakeholders, to ensure commercial discipline through routine inspections, whose mandate includes making sure that the immigration status of workers is in all cases in order.

Additional highlights of the week included a detailed quarterly briefing by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, which focused on the ongoing progress and challenges currently facing various projects falling under the Transport Hub. Hub initiatives include such proposed mega-projects and the Kazungula Bridge and Trans-Kgalagadi railway.

The President also received the latest report of the Intersectoral Committee on the Campaign against the Abuse of Alcohol Consumption, which focused on aligning local campaign efforts with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest “Global Strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.”

Yesterday, His Excellency travelled to the Kgalagadi North Constituency, where he visited the communities of Boshoek, Bray and Kokotsha.

Acting Vice President

In other events, His Honour the Acting Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, recently joined Cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries for the official opening of the new Sprint couriers Headquarters in Gaborone. His Honour used the occasion to encourage potential women entrepreneurs in particular to emulate the example of the company’s two founding owners, Pinkie Setlalekgosi and Michelle Gebrial, by embracing opportunities to economically empower themselves. In applauding the pair’s efforts he observed:

“You have set standards for not only for other women in this country but even some men that hard work and determination pays. You have created a life for your fellow countrymen who will enjoy the fruits of your hard labour”

The Acting Vice President went on to note that successful business initiatives like Sprint Couriers were key vehicles in driving efforts to fight poverty in Botswana through their creation of expanded employment opportunities and efficient service delivery to their customers.

Committee of Supply

Also during the week, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, presented to Parliament this year’s Committee of Supply Speech for the Ministry of State President.

In presenting the Presidency’s budget the Minister underscored some of the principle achievements and challenges that his Ministry had encountered during the 2010/11 financial year. Among other things, he stressed the Executive’s determination to further stimulate the economy and reduce dependence on the mineral sector through its implementation of the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth.

Minister Masisi further reaffirmed Government’s commitment to vigorously move forward with the Poverty Eradication through concrete investment in the back yard gardening initiative and associated interventions. In this respect, he confirmed that Government had secured P 128 million to finance the first two phases of the initiative, which would also involve support for such activities as poultry, small-stock, fisheries, community tourism projects, handicrafts and food processing.

Legislators were also informed of Government’s decision, in line with international best practice and local needs and expectations, to provide an annual subvention of P 1million to the Botswana Red Cross to assist in disaster relief.

The Minister further reassured colleagues that contrary to some media commentary, that Government, through the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was actively engaged in efforts to establish Collective Bargaining Structures for the purpose of creating a platform for Public Service Unions to negotiate with Government on matters relating to employee welfare (more on the Budget in our next report).

 

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