Republic of Botswana (8/10/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 35 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Let us also here recognize that for the most part it has been the NGOs who in our country have been the pioneers of special education for those with disabilities. In the immediate post-independence era it was the Dutch Reformed Church in Mochudi that established the first centre for the blind. Many other local initiatives have flowered in the decades since. To date there are seventeen (17) additional NGO run centres located throughout the country that offer Special Education and rehabilitation services.
- President Mogae [D1]
"African countries such as Mauritius, Botswana, South Africa and Ghana are disproving the 'lost continent' thesis with their good political management."
- 2006 BTI Executive Summery [E3]
A. Uncovered Coverage.
B. Press Schedule
C. The week that was
D. Statements & Messages by H.E. the President at the:
1) At the Official Opening Boyie School Unit for the Deaf (7/10/05)
2) For "My African Dream" talent competition (7/10/05)
3) For University Graduation Programme (8/10/05)
4) At the JAB Best business Competition (8/10/05)
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
1) Closure of Part of Chobe National Park (4/10/05)
2) Mrs. Oliphant awarded Ordre du Merite (7/10/05)
3) BTI 2006: Botswana a global leader in good governance (8/10/05)
4) Additional notes and forwarding.
A. Uncovered Coverage.
Welcome to TT 35 of 2005. At the end of the week H.E. the President will embark on a four day, three nation working tour, which will take him to Oxford, Antwerp and Rome. The delegation travelling with the President, in this case numbering less than a dozen including security and support staff, has been kept to a minimum. There will be "no guys who brief the guys who brief the President" on board OK 1.
Keeping travelling delegations to a minimum has, in fact, been the standing policy. Those who do go are expected to multi-task as needs arise. This is why, for example, yours truly either goes or stays behind in his capacity as Deputy Senior Private Secretary, rather than simply Press Secretary.
Because of the tight schedule of the upcoming trip there will be no accompanying press on this occasion. In the context of budgetary constraints, the expense of moving journalists through three countries over a long weekend was judged to be too costly.
Our inability to accommodate the press in this instance is, nonetheless, regrettable. This Office has always believed that it is vital that Batswana be well informed by the media about what their President is up to when he leaves the country to represent their interests.
At the same time we remain a small democratic state with a developing economy, which is faced with significant socio-economic challenges. As the 2006 BTI report also notes [E 3], this will require Government to continue to exercise prudence is its husbandry of public resources.
It is because we are talking about public resources that, on a few occasions, public officers have openly expressed their misgivings about the lack of coverage, NOT the content of coverage, by those public service media institutions that have been given the public responsibility to cover the President at the public's expense. We regard this as a matter of accountability, not editorial interference.
For now the public service media shall continue to cover most of the President's overseas trips, such as the forthcoming State Visit to South Africa. In the end it will be for the public, not this Office, to judge whether they are getting value for their money from any resulting coverage.
In the meantime for next week, as always, this Office will do what it can within its own modest means to facilitate the flow of information to the public and private media alike. In this context I will be available here in Gaborone next weekend, while maintaining contact with the travelling delegation. - Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (8/10/05)
Contacts: Office Telephone: (267) 3975154 & Facsimile: (267) 3902795.
Cell: (267) 71318598. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Thursday (13/10/05): In the morning, from 8:00 am, H.E. the President will open the 2nd Conference of African Ministers of Health. Thereafter, at 10:00, he will depart for the U.K.
Friday (14/10/05): In the evening H.E. the President will address the Oxford Union, Oxford University, U.K.
Saturday (15/10/05): During the day H.E. the President will depart for Antwerp, Belgium, where he will meet with business leaders in the diamond cutting and polishing industry.
Sunday (16/10/05): During the day H.E. the President will depart for Rome, Italy, to attend the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the 25th anniversary of World Food Day.
Tuesday (18/10/05): H.E. the President is scheduled to return to Gaborone in the evening at 21:00.
Thursday (20/10/05): In the morning, at 10:00, H.E. the President will give an exclusive interview to the Community Health Media Trust. In the afternoon, at 15:00, he will receive a courtesy call from the Vice President of EIB.
Monday (24/10/05) - Thursday (27/10/05): State Visit to the Republic of South Africa [further details to follow]
Friday (28/10/05): During the evening H.E. the President will attend the Junior Achievement Botswana Annual Gala Dinner.
C. OP Press opportunities for the week ending 8/10/05:
Tuesday (4/10/05): During the afternoon, H.E. the President received a farewell call from Mrs. Tuelonyana Oliphant, who is to be Botswana's High Commissioner in Lusaka [see also E 2]
Friday (7/10/05): In the morning, H.E. the President travelled to Maun for the opening of the Boyeyi Primary School for the Deaf Unit [D1]. In the evening he attended the "My African Dream" Talent Show Competition Dinner [D2].
Saturday (8/10/05): In the morning, H.E. the President attended the annual joint University of Botswana & Botswana College of Agriculture Graduation Ceremony [D3]. In the early evening he attended the Junior Achievement Botswana National Best Competition [D4].
D 1) REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT MOGAE AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF BOYEI PRIMARY SCHOOL SPECIAL UNIT FOR THE DEAF, MAUN (7/10/05)
[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen
1. It is a pleasure for me, as the Patron of Botswana Society for the Deaf, to be able to officially open the Boyei Primary School Unit for the Deaf. In so doing I am both aware and appreciative of the fact that today's ceremony is the culmination of six years of committed efforts by a great number of people.
2. Back in 1999 two social rehabilitation officers, Mr. Watson Mabuku from Tshidilo Stimulation Centre and Ms. Helen Jylha from Thuso Lutheran Rehabilitation, first got the ball rolling when they came together to take stock of the needs of children with severe hearing impairments in this District.
3. The pair then observed that many of the some 200 young children they had identified with hearing impairments were not accessing education in the two existing schools for the deaf, located in Ramotswa and Francistown. In addition to the distances involved both schools then, as now, had long waiting lists.
4. After consultation with other concerned stakeholders, in the Public Service and NGO sectors, a local Deaf Unit Steering Committee was established. As its immediate objective the Committee developed a project proposal to solicit funds for the construction of an integrated unit for the deaf.
5. Their proposal was initially submitted to the Finish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, which was responsive. With the further support of the Finnish Association for the Deaf and the Finnish Government, the Committee was thus ultimately able to raise just over 2.7 million Pula for the project.
6. The Committee in liaison with the external donors and the North West District Council was then able to proceed with the building of the envisaged unit. The first phase of the project was completed in 2003 and handed over to the North West District Council in 2004. The facility now comprises of Four (4) classrooms and hostels for both boys and girls. When fully functional the hostel will accommodate 64 children.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen, the example of partnership I have just briefly outlined is certainly most welcome. It is a prime example of the how the public sector can work together with NGO's and the donor community to make a positive difference in the lives of those most in need.
8. Fortunately, today's story is only unique in its detail rather than its theme. While we in Government wish we could do more, we recognize and appreciate the fact that throughout many parts of the country, and not just here, such partnerships have been crucial in assisting us to assist those with disabilities.
9. The plain truth is that Government alone cannot, at this point in time, fully satisfy the demand for Education for All when it comes to special needs. It is therefore apparent that this is an area in which NGOs will need to continue to play a significant role. In many communities NGOs have and for at least the foreseeable future will continue to often act as alternative service providers.
10. Let us also here recognize that for the most part it has been the NGOs who in our country have been the pioneers of special education for those with disabilities. In the immediate post-independence era it was the Dutch Reformed Church in Mochudi that established the first centre for the blind. Many other local initiatives have flowered in the decades since. To date there are seventeen (17) additional NGO run centres located throughout the country that offer Special Education and rehabilitation services.
11. It is in this context that Government, through the Revised National Policy on Education, has embraced NGOs as vital partners and committed itself to where possible supporting them financially.
12. The Unit for the Deaf we are opening today is thus part of a wider trend. In this connection, I wish to thank the officials of Thuso Rehabilitation and Tshidilo Stimulation Centres as well as other members of the Steering Committee for making this moment possible. They have all set for us a good example of what commitment to a cause can do. We can only hope that their efforts will be emulated by others.
13. Let me also take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Botswana, and indeed on my behalf, to further express our sincere thanks and appreciation of the efforts our Finnish partners, the Evangelical Lutheran Mission and Association for the Deaf, along with the Finnish Government, for their generous and proactive support. We will always be reminded of your selfless charity by its impact on the lives of the children who will be educated here.
14. The establishment of Boyei Special Unit for the deaf has, incidentally, now increased centres for the hearing impaired learners from five (5) to six (6), in the country.
15. Let me conclude by noting that in the field of special education, as elsewhere, our best efforts are being challenged by the spread of HIV/AIDs. For this reason the Ministry of Education HIV/AIDS programmes do take into account the particular circumstances of learners with special educational needs.
16. Existing HIV/AIDS materials, for example, are continuously being adapted and modified to suit special needs children including those with hearing impairment, for example "Talk Back".
17. Let me also take this opportunity to single out and thank the Southern African Deaf Empowerment Programme (SADEF) for being instrumental in training deaf specialist teachers in sign language interpretation including sign for HIV/AIDS. Through their support the Ministry of Education has been able to train 53 teachers.
18. Finally, let me take this opportunity to commend all the involved parties who have been active in the field of special needs education for their contributions.
19. Director of Ceremonies, it is now my pleasure to officially open Boyei Special Unit for the Deaf. I thank you. PULA
D 2) Message by H.E. the President to the Participants and Organizers of the "My African Dream" talent competition (7/10/05):
Over the years I have heard of the KTV Talent Show, Junior Talent Show and, more recently, My African Dream. The exposure this event has received through the press - newspapers and BTV - has brought the talent of the contestants into all our homes.
It is hard to express in words the pride I feel for the achievements of all these participants. The painstaking hours they have dedicated to developing their acts, the courage it has taken for them to enter and perform. Not only are they inspirational to their peers. Their fine example of commitment, self-confidence and ambition should be appreciated by all of us.
I am pleased to be a witness to the performances of these young artists. These young people are paving the way for themselves and others with such aspirations. Through their displays of talent they are flying our flag, helping to put Botswana on the international entertainment map.
Appreciation goes out to the organizers and participants alike for making such a dream a reality.
Congratulations to all of you [contestants] who have made it this far. Congratulations also to all of you who did not make it to the GICC [finals] but who had the courage to enter this wonderful talent search.
I implore other citizens of Botswana to also look inside themselves, find the spirit that makes them fly and look for the opportunity to take flight as these young people have. I thank the parents and guardians who have supported them on their quest. I encourage the event organizers to further support these talented young people by offering opportunities for them to continue to perform and develop.
May this just be the first decade of My African Dream, may these performers one day sit and watch with pride as their own children perform on stage. Lo thotloetso mo setshabeng ka kakaretso. Pula!
D 3) Message from His Excellency the President and Chancellor for UB 2005 graduation programme (8/10/05):
It is a pleasure to once again be able to take part in the graduation of another dedicated group of scholars from our University and College of Agriculture. Today we all share in the joy of the Class of 2005.
For the graduates, this ceremony is not simply an event. It is rather the outcome of sustained commitment. Behind each degree, diploma or certificate bestowed is an educational journey that began in hundreds of different classrooms. Having reached this important milestone in their lives, this year's graduates, like their predecessors, are now better equipped to continue along their individual paths to hopefully greater accomplishments. While tomorrow will undoubtedly bring new challenges, for today at least they are entitled to enjoy the well earned praise of others.
While recognizing the individual academic achievements of our graduates we should also pause to honour the collective efforts of the many others whose contributions have made their success possible. This is, of course, an especially joyous occasion for the families of the Class of 2005, who have nurtured them along their paths of knowledge. They have every right to be proud of their children, siblings, nephews and nieces, or, indeed, parents.
There are others who also deserve recognition such as friends and fellow class mates. We further appreciate the University and College staff, both academic and non-academic, as well as those of the primary and secondary schools who preceded them. There are undoubtedly many others who have contributed to this day, for in the end the education of any individual is always a community effort.
Ultimately, the value of any academic credential lies in what its owner achieves after acquiring it. For the Class of 2005 today thus marks not only the end of one journey but the beginning of another. Some may feel anxious at reaching this crossroads, for there is always uncertainty in the path that lies ahead. Yet, while no one's future can be secure, our graduates are able to face its challenges with confidence that their very being here today is a testament that they have within them what it takes to remain the masters of their destiny.
In the long run we can be sure that the endeavours of the Class of 2005 will contribute to a better future for all. It is therefore my privilege to say to all the graduates of the University of Botswana and the Botswana College of Agriculture: Congratulations! Best Wishes! And Godspeed!
D 4) STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. FESTUS G. MOGAE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, AT THE JAB NATIONAL BEST BUSINESS PRACTICE COMPETITION AWARDS (8/10/05)
[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am pleased to once again be in the company of some of the young achievers who are already laying the foundations in their own lives for a better future. It is encouraging to see dedicated young people investing their time and effort in learning about the practicalities of business. As the Junior Achievement motto goes - Let their success be your inspiration.
2. I am informed that those gathered here tonight are the representatives of Junior Achievement Botswana (or JAB) companies that have already made it through either the Northern or Southern Regional Best Business Competitions. Tonight we shall complete the process by recognising and bestowing awards on those who have proved themselves to be among the best of the best in the nation.
3. It is noteworthy that the JAB Best Business Competition has become an ongoing annual event. Over the years hundreds of junior achiever companies have vied for the honour of these awards.
4. Ladies and Gentlemen, this ceremony is but a further reflection of the continued good efforts of Junior Achievement Botswana in instilling entrepreneurship is our society. The importance of this work is hard to overstate.
5. Along with other stakeholders and observers, my Government recognises that the further development of entrepreneurship among our citizens is a prerequisite for promoting sustained economic growth and diversification. It is only by tapping into such talents that we will be able to generate the necessary domestic private sector growth that can enable us overcome the twin challenges of poverty and unemployment.
6. As I emphasised in my recent Independence Day message current high levels of unemployment among first time job seekers is a particularly vexing challenge for all of us. Fortunately, it is here that JAB programme continues to make a direct and significant contribution by giving its participants the opportunity to gain real business knowledge and experience before they enter the job market.
7. The skills imparted by JAB, moreover, give its participants the confidence as well as capacity to potentially continue along the path of self-employment by creating there own business opportunities.
8. Director of Ceremonies, let me also here once more commend the many JAB partners for their crucial role in mentoring sustaining this organisation. It is my hope that additional members of the business community will also come forward to assist in this noble effort in the coming year. In so doing they will not simply be performing a form of national service. By boosting the economic prospects of a section of society they will also be helping to secure the future of your own enterprises.
9. Director of Ceremonies, let me conclude by acknowledging some of the people and organisations that made this event possible. I wish to begin by thanking the schools and school heads whose children participated in the JAB Regional and National competitions for making it a priority to give these young people the chance to showcase their potential. I would like to further appeal to other school heads to make sure that their children gain access these programmes in the schools.
10. I also wish to thank our JAB volunteers for selflessly committing themselves to delivering these programmes.
11. Let me further express my sincere gratitude to the three corporate sponsors of this year's Best Business Competition. The 2005 National Competition is sponsored by Heinemann Educational Botswana. In addition the Southern and Northern Regional competitions were sponsored Debswana Jwaneng Mine and Botswana Development Corporation respectively.
12. Finally, let me once more salute the young achievers who are the true owners of Junior Achievement Botswana. I again commend you all for your efforts to empower yourselves by taking up the challenge of self-employment. In this respect I can say that notwithstanding the identity of the actual award winners we can honestly that tonight is as evening where there are no losers only winners. I thank you.
E. OP PRESS OFFICE FORWARDING:
E 1) 4/10/05: Closure of part of the Chobe National Park
Forwarded below and as an attachment is a press release received from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, who can be contacted for further details @ PO Box 131 Gaborone; E-mail: email@example.com; Tel: 3971405, Fax: 3912354
A recurrence of anthrax in the Chobe National Park forces the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to close part of the park. The current occurrence is mostly restricted to the central portion of the Park along the Chobe River. Several animals, mostly buffaloes and elephants, have died as a result. Anthrax spores can persist in the environment for considerable time and the current incidences will have resulted from the anthrax occurrence in 2004.
In order to allow the staff of the Department of Wildlife and National Park to dispose of the carcasses, prevent spread of the disease and avoid any threat to public health, the affected portion of the Chobe National Park will be closed for public access with immediate effect. Visitors will only be allowed to travel in the river front area between the Sedudu entrance gate and the Serondela picnic site and between the Ngoma entrance gate and the Ihaha public campsite. No travel will thus be allowed in the area between the Serondela picnic site and the Ihaha public campground until further notice. As a result travel between Kasane and Ngoma will only be possible over the tar road between these two locations.
For their own safety, everyone is advised not to touch any carcasses or animal remains, including hoofs, horns, bones, skin or meat, that may be found in and around the northern part of the Chobe National Park.
E 2) 6/10/05: Mrs. Oliphant awarded the French Ordre du Merite.
The following press statement has been received from H.E. the French Ambassador and is forwarded for your convenience. Also attached a copy of High Commissioner Oliphant's CV:
[START OF STATEMENT]
On evening of October the 6th 2005, the Ambassador of France to Botswana bestowed, at the Residence of France, on behalf of the President of the Republic of France, the "National Merit Order" medal (Ordre National du Mérite) to the outgoing Permanent Secretary for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mrs Tuelonyana OLIPHANT.
Mrs. OLIPHANT is about to move to Lusaka (Zambia) where she was appointed High Commissioner. She is known as a friend of France, and has expressed much cooperation dispositions since the opening of a full-fledged French Embassy in Gaborone in 2001. She attended in 2001 the 2nd "Forum on Peace Keeping Africa", in Paris, with 120 delegates from 60 countries, mainly African.
E 3) 8/10/05: BTI again ranks Botswana a global leader in good governance.
Yesterday, the Bertelsmann Foundation, which is based in the Federal Republic of Germany, released its Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) for 2006. The report, which is produced on a biannual basis, is intended to provide a comprehensive view of the status of democracy and socially responsible market economics, as well as the overall quality of political management, in non-OECD countries. The latest study ranks 119 countries on all continents.
In a forward to the 2006 report, the Director of the Centre for Applied Policy Research at the Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, Prof. Dr. Werner Weidenfeld, notes that:
"BTI will continue to provide its service to politicians, experts and scholars. Our continued efforts find support from several sectors including the German government, organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and from individuals around the globe. Frequently used in university seminars, the BTI is also employed in government offices as an expert source, and journalists everywhere rely on our information."
Notwithstanding the latest study's having taken detailed and critical note of a wide range of domestic controversies, including the deportation of Kenneth Good and the debate surrounding the CKGR relocation exercise, Botswana, along with Mauritius, was once more ranked in top position among African nations.
As in the past the 2006 BTI is divided into two sections with separate indexes. The "Status Index" combines a number of variables to measure in detail the status of democracy and the market economy, while the "Management Index" focuses more specifically on the quality of governance.
With respect to the Management Index, Botswana has now risen to number three position in the world. The Index is a composite measure of the efficacy of political and public institutions. Focus areas falling under the Index include: steering capability, effective use of resources, the reliable pursuit of goals, consensus building, reform management, and international cooperation.
The Management Index's top ten (with their scores) were: Mauritius (7.57), Chile (7.51), Botswana (7.44), Slovenia (7.41), Taiwan (7.37), Slovakia (7.32), Estonia (7.29), South Korea (7.25), Lithuania (7.00) and the Czech Republic (6.95).
In the BTI "Status Index" Botswana was ranked number one on the African continent (albeit again just below Mauritius among Africa Union member states), number seven outside of Europe, and number sixteen in the overall global ranking.
Botswana's overall score in the 2006 Status Index is 8 (7.98).
Qualities underscored in the BTI Status Index include under a sub-index for "Democratic Development", such variables as popular identification with the state, freedom of political participation, the rule of law, stability of democratic institutions, political and social integration and the strength of civic culture.
In the above areas Botswana was given a composite score of 8.45 (15 in the world), with the detailed country report noting in its summery that "Democratic institutions are largely effective and efficient", while adding:
"One remaining primary problem for the country's political and social integration is the ongoing dominance of the governing BDP, which is only inadequately balanced by the relatively weak opposition parties and civil-society organizations."
The BTI Status Index also contains a second sub-index for "Economic Development", which examines such qualities as market structures and competition, currency and price stability, private property, social welfare and economic sustainability, as well as overall socio-economic development.
Botswana's composite Economic Development score was 7.50. In this area the country report summarises:
"Compared to other sub-Saharan countries, Botswana has a fairly high level of economic development, and the country continues to make progress in economic performance, growth, and the institutional framework for market competition. Ongoing efforts have been unsuccessful in reducing dependence on diamonds. Existing social problems among the population are intensified by the HIV and AIDS pandemic."
In addition to continued dependence on the mineral sector the report cites youth unemployment as a significant challenge. Using it own global criteria the report places Botswana poverty rate at 23.5%, which is below Government's most recent figure of 30%
The 2006 BTI Botswana profile concludes with the prediction that:
"Botswana will likely maintain its relatively high level of democratic transformation and will continue to enjoy success in the economic arena. At the same time, some weaknesses in political and especially social transformation will remain unchanged."
With respect to its overall global findings the Executive summary of the report states that "Democracy is on the march worldwide", while noting that some countries are nonetheless faltering on their path to democracy, and others resisting altogether. It further notes:
"African countries such as Mauritius, Botswana, South Africa and Ghana are disproving the "lost continent" thesis with their good political management. In addition to these success stories, South Korea, Taiwan and Chile stand out as examples of successfully consolidated market-based democracies. Sixty-two percent of the world's population now enjoys a democratic form of government."
E 4) Additional notices and forwarding from 1- 8/10/05:
* 4/10/05: Motapa and Stornoway to Commence Work in Botswana.
* 6/10/05: Former President Masire to speak at Sacramento State.
* 6/10/05: "Quiet revolution in African Finance"
NB: Journalists and other interested members of the public seeking official information and comment on the circumstances surrounding the voluntary resettlement of Botswana citizen outside of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) are advised in the first instance to contact the Director of the Public Relations, Research and Information Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Cliff Maribe, at Tel: (267) 3600763 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For further background information online you may also wish to browse http://www.gov.bw/basarwa/index.html.