Republic of Botswana (14/8/05)

TAUTONA TIMES no 28 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President

"It is my honour to be amongst you to celebrate and mark the official opening of development projects in Zwenshambe. I particularly felt great appreciation for the active participation of the community, without whom most of these facilities could not have materialized. Your volunteerism and dedication posses a great challenge to future generations of this village for years to come." - His Honour the Vice-President [D]


A. More than two billion?
B. Press Schedule
C. The week that was
D. Statement by His Honour the Vice President Officially Opening Development Projects in Zwenshambe (6/8/05)
E. Press Office Forwarding: 1) African-American media magnate who published Seretse Khama's own story dies (9/8/05); and 2) Additional notes and forwarding.

A. What can be done for a couple billion?

Welcome this week's edition, which is a bit briefer than usual. Next week's issue, however, will feature expanded coverage of the 2005 SADC Summit and Silver Jubilee celebration.

While there is much one could comment on in this past week's press, such as non-existent U.N. initiatives, for now I shall confine myself to a brief note on the estimated domestic costs of hosting the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Tournament.

Since the announcement that Cabinet had decided that it is not in a position to financially guarantee the AFCON bid there has been a lot of emotional commentary in the local media, but little in the way of detail about what would have been either its actual costs or tangible benefits.

Admittedly the costs are easier to calculate. The single biggest expense to the public would have been the provision of two 40,000 seat and two 20,000 seat stadiums, at an estimated total price of 1.64 billion pula. This figure alone would be the equivalent of about 915 pula from each man, woman and child in the country, well above the 11 pula per family that one writer in Mmegi believed sufficient.

Given that this country's current, much more modest, stadiums are underutilised, one wonders how the Mmegi newspaper, in light of its own lead editorial of last Wednesday, would ensure the post 2010 financial sustainability, much less full return on investment, of an additional 120,000 seat stadium capacity divided between four locations?

Of course there would inevitably have been other significant costs, such as those for enhanced transport and accommodation outside of Gaborone, in addition to the tens of millions that would have been spent in terms of making, marketing and implementing any bid. All of this would have ultimately added to the overall burden on our total population of about 1.8 million in the form of taxes and/or additional deferment of development projects.

Given the acknowledged existence of shortages in the public provision of such things as educational and health facilities, particularly in the rural and remote areas, as well as the continued challenge of coping with a national HIV prevalence rate of 17%, the Government of the day collectively felt it had to take the difficult but responsible decision to defer any African Cup of Nations bid to a more fortuitous time and circumstance.

- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (14/8/05)

Contacts: Office Telephone: (267) 3975154 & Facsimile: (267) 3902795.
Cell: (267) 71318598. E-mail:

B. Press Schedule:

As always the events listed below, which represent only those parts of H.E. the President's schedule open in whole or part to press coverage, are subject to change. When possible and necessary, updates will be forwarded. Members of the Press are also encouraged to contact the sponsors of the various events listed below for further programme details and possible updates.

Tuesday (16/8/05): In the morning, at 10:00 hours, H.E. the President will give an exclusive interview to Peolwane Magazine, which will be followed at 11:00 hour with a second exclusive interview with Reuters. It is anticipated that much of his afternoon, from 14:00, will be taken up in welcoming Heads of State and other Special Guests to Gaborone for the 2005 SADC Summit and Silver Jubilee Celebrations. In the evening, His Excellency hopes to join other SADC delegates at Matisong for a special showing of the much praised local production of the classic musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat".

Wednesday (17/8/05) SADC Summit Day 1:

In the morning, from 8:00, H.E. the President will give the Welcome Address at the Official Opening of the 2005 SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, to be held at the GICC. It is anticipated that the ceremony will further include Statements and Addresses from, among others, the outgoing Chairperson of SADC, the SADC Executive Secretary and the recently inaugurated Presidents of Mozambique and Namibia. The Ceremony will also feature the announcement of the winners of the annual SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition and the SADC Media Awards. This should be followed by the Acceptance Statement of the new Chairperson of SADC, President Mogae. Thereafter there is to be a group photo of the SADC Heads of State and Government present, along with their special guests.

In the afternoon, from 12:30 hours, H.E. the President will host an Official Luncheon for the Heads of State and Government. Thereafter, the Summit will go into closed session.

In the evening, from 18:00 hours, H.E. the President will host and address an Official Dinner and Cultural evening, which will commemorate SADC's 25th Anniversary.

Thursday (17-18/8/05) SADC Summit Day 2:

In the late morning, from 11:15 hours, the Summit will hold its Official Closing Ceremony, which is expected to include statements by H.E. the President and others. It is further anticipated that a Summit Communiqué will be read.

In the afternoon, following a final luncheon for the Heads of State and Government, H.E. the President will hold a Press Conference.

Friday (19/8/05): At noon H.E. the President will give an exclusive interview to SABC.

Tuesday (23/8/05): In the morning, from 8:40 hours, H.E. the President will attend the Official Opening of this years Botswana International Trade Fair at the Fairgrounds.

Friday (26/8/05): In the morning, from 9:00, H.E. the President will Chair a meeting of the National AIDS Council. Members of the press are welcome for the opening photo opportunity and any possible welcome remarks before the Council goes into closed session.

Monday (29/8/05): In the early evening, time and venue still to be confirmed, H.E. the President will attend this year's Botswana Society AGM.

Wednesday (31/8/05): In the morning, H.E. the President will Officially Open the 2005 World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR), at the GICC.

C. OP Press Highlights 7-14/8/05:

Press opportunities involving H.E. the President this past week were confined to a Thursday morning meeting with the Hon. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Malawi, Mrs. Marjorie Ngaunje, and Saturday's annual Police Day Celebrations.

In addition, on Thursday afternoon, the First Lady, Mrs. Barbara Mogae, invited the Press to State House to meet this year's Miss Universe Botswana contestants.


(Salutations)....Distinguished guests Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It is my honour to be amongst you to celebrate and mark the official opening of development projects in Zwenshambe. I particularly felt great appreciation for the active participation of the community, without whom most of these facilities could not have materialized. Your volunteerism and dedication posses a great challenge to future generations of this village for years to come.

2. I wish to recognize the self-reliance efforts exhibited by the community ever since 1979 when Zwenshambe was awarded village status. Within a relatively short space of time, community initiative saw the construction and completion of a community hall, a junior community secondary school, and a brigade to cater for various basic vocational skills.

3. Government has undertaken to advance your cause, and given the Brigade a face lift to the tune of P20 million. The junior community secondary school has also been taken over by government. I am informed that a P2.5 million expansion of the school is budgeted for. An additional classroom block, a pavilion, three (3) staff houses, two (2) ablution blocks, a guidance and counselling room, and a hot water laundry house will be constructed this year.

4. Let me say a few words on the establishment and role of Village Development Committees. These Committees were established to determine the extent to which communities could satisfy their needs on a self-help basis through community action plans.

5. Such Committees were also to provide a forum and dialogue between village elders, politicians, district authorities and a particular community to enhance exchange and flow of information on development projects. This collaboration would ensure that developmental projects are inclusive of and sensitive to the desires and aspirations of all the stakeholders concerned, as well as strengthen the democratic ideals upon which our society is built.

6. Through the efforts of the Zwenshambe Village Development Committee and village elders, the following achievements have been made through community participation under the Drought Relief Programme.

* Construction of two (2) LA2 teachers houses at a cost of P335,640.00
* Construction of two (2) guardhouses at the Health Post and Primary School at a cost of P68,386.00
* Construction of a VDC office at a cost of P66,823.00
* Bus shelters constructed at a cost of P56,000.00
* A Postal Agency through in-kind community participation

7. The Ministry of Local Government has also constructed modern customary offices at a cost of about P230, 000.00 and a Primary School kitchen at P285, 457.00. Kitchen equipment were installed and completed in May 2004.

8. In spite of the achievements aforementioned, I am informed that the village, as is the case with most villages in the District, is experiencing acute shortage of portable water. This country has not been blessed with good rains for quite some time, resulting in dwindling groundwater reserves. As such the three boreholes are unable to cope with the demand of the village given limited yields. Supplementary water bowsing measures, though not adequate, have been instituted to compliment the borehole yields. The long term solution to this problem will be realised once the Ntimbale Dam project and Maitengwe water works are complete.

9. I wish to take this opportunity to reflect on the scourge of HIV/AIDS, which poses the greatest threat to economic development. Though government has injected life blood in terms of financial and political support to combat the scourge, the major draw back is the unwavering behavioural and attitudinal change. Most people, in spite of the abundant information and programmes, continue to jeopardize their health status and that of the economy. It is our individual and collective responsibility to provide parental care, counselling and guidance to our brothers, sisters and off springs to address such ills.

10. Let me conclude by indicating that we can only succeed if we work as a team and exercise collective responsibility. Socio-economic, cultural and political differences should be put aside for effective attainment of our development goals.

11. I now take pleasure and honour to officially declare the Zwenshambe development projects open. PULA!

E. OP Press Office Forwarding:

E 1) 9/8/05: African-American media magnate who published Seretse Khama's own story dies.

In the news it is reported that the pioneer African-American Publisher John Johnson has died at the age of 87. He was the founder of the largest African-American publishing firm in the US, which through its magazines Ebony and Jet helped change cultural and racial stereotypes about black people around the world.

According to the reports Mr. Johnson's death was announced by his daughter Linda, who is the current president of the firm.

Among the figures that Johnson's publications brought to international attention was Seretse Khama, who wrote his own exclusive article for the June 1951 edition of Ebony magazine. Entitled "Why I Gave Up My Throne" in the feature article the late first President gave his own full account of his persecution by the British Government following his inter-racial marriage.

(Electronic copies of the full text of the historic 1951 Ebony magazine special feature by Seretse Khama available)

According to wire services, John Johnson was born in Arkansas, in 1918, moving to Chicago while still a teenager. While working for an insurance company, he borrowed $500 using his mother's furniture as collateral to start his publishing business. His first publication - Negro Digest - was modelled on Reader's Digest. He persuaded distributors his magazine was in demand by getting his friends and co-workers to ask for it on news-stands.

In 1942, Johnson launched Ebony. Jet followed in 1951. Together, the magazines were among the first to show images of racial violence in America, which gave impetus to the civil rights movement there. Over the decades they also helped draw attention to the struggles of Africans, as well as African-Americans.

In his later years Johnson defended his magazines against claims they had become lightweight. In his 1989 autobiography, he wrote:

"Whenever I got sick, my mother gave me castor oil. And I'd run and hide and squeal and holler. "Finally she got smart. She gave it to me in orange juice. And it was more acceptable then. I tell people all the time, we run a lot of entertainment, but it's orange juice. If you look inside, there's always castor oil."

E 2) Additional notices and forwarding from 7-13/8/05:

* 10/8/05: Late additions for Thursday (11/8/05) - Special Envoy from Malawi to meet with the President; first Lady to host Miss Universe Contestants at State House
* 11/8/05: Development expert praises Botswana and Mauritius.
* 12/8/05: To GabzFM re Mpule Story
* 12/8/05: "Why Botswana prospered" book launch on Tuesday
* 12/8/05: "Debswana's 6 billion pula planned spend"
* 12/8/05: "Kalahari Diamonds looking to list"
* 12/8/05: "SA, Botswana increase science and tech cooperation"