Republic of Botswana (19/3/05)

TAUTONA TIMES no 10 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President


A. "Shield of the Nation"
B. Press Schedule
C. The OP Press Week That Was
D. H.E. the President's Statements:

1) On the occasion of Commonwealth Day 2005 (14/3/05)
2) Opening the Vision Council briefing of the Economic Committee of
Cabinet (15/3/05)

E. OP Press Office Forwarding:

1) Letter to the Editor of the Monitor newspaper (16/3/05)
2) Letter to the Editor of The Star newspaper (17/3/05)
3) Additional notes and forwarding

A. "Shield of the Nation"

"To defend the country and provide for the security of Botswana,
participate in external security cooperation activities, and contribute
in domestic support operations, with the aim of ensuring national
security and stability; protecting people and their properties;
protecting the Constitution of Botswana to guarantee the rule of law;
defending Botswana as a free, independent and sovereign state; aiding
civil authorities in domestic support operations; strengthening
Botswana's international relations by participating in regional and
international security cooperation activities."

Reproduced above is the Mission Statement of the Botswana Defence Force
(BDF), which earlier today celebrated its 28th anniversary with well
attended observances at the National Stadium in Gaborone and also at the
Francistown Stadium.

As is customary during this annual "BDF Day", H.E. the President in his
capacity as Commander-in-Chief, took part in the Gaborone ceremony. This
event is the one time during the year in which the President wears a
uniform. Along with other elements of the ceremony, such as the
inspection of the parade, the handing over of colours and the parade
march off, the Commander-in-Chief uniform is symbolic of Botswana's
unbroken tradition of civilian political authority over the military,
which remains as a cornerstone of our democracy.

The BDF was established by an Act of Parliament in April 1977 in the
face of rising regional tensions, which were then being driven by the
racist regimes of Apartheid South Africa and rebel Rhodesia (liberated
as Zimbabwe), who then encircled Botswana.

At its formation the nucleus of the new army only consisted of 132
members of what had previously been the Police Mobile Unit. This small
force was immediately confronted with the task of countering stepped up
cross border aggression by the then Rhodesian Security Forces. The
nature of this challenge was tragically underscored in February 1978
when 15 BDF soldiers, along with two civilian youths, were killed in an
ambush by the Rhodesians, inside Botswana.

The outrage felt by all Batswana at this act of unwonted aggression was
thereafter magnified by the hypocrisy and double standards of the
supposedly liberal South African press (then as now circulating in
Botswana), which continued to dismiss or ignore the murder of Batswana
inside their country by the outside aggressors.

Instead the South African newspapers, joined by a segment of the British
press, directed their editorial outrage at the deaths of three whites
who were killed a few weeks later while trying to escape from BDF
custody. The trio, who had trespassed into Botswana, were suspected of
being Rhodesian scouts. Typical was The Star's patronising comment of

"Right now the circumstantial and other evidence points to a needless
killing by trigger-happy soldiers influenced to some degree by official
overreaction to the alleged Rhodesian threat to its security. This is
uncharacteristic of Botswana which has an enviable reputation for
moderation, democracy, justice and racial will lose its
most valuable contribution to progress in southern Africa: that of being
a good example of black rule."

Not to be outdone the Rand Daily Mail (whose subsequent demise spawned
today's Weekly Mail & Guardian) a few days later (6/4/78) added:

"Once cited as an enviable example of democracy and improving race
relations, Botswana has become suspicious, authoritarian and dangerous."

With the end of the racist regimes, the Defence Force has acquired new
domestic and international responsibilities. Besides it primary role as
the nation's security shield, today's BDF also contributes to the
country's wellbeing through its involvement in such areas as disaster
relief, animal disease control and anti-poaching efforts. Much global
attention has been drawn to the later role through the popular,
critically acclaimed National Geographic film "Wildlife Warriors".

Over the past decade, the BDF has also achieved a distinguished record
of participation in international peacekeeping operations in such places
as Mozambique, Somalia, and Lesotho.


Wishing all readers a pleasant Easter Holiday, the next edition of this
circular will only appear in two weeks time.

- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (19/3/05)


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.

Sunday (20/3/05): In the afternoon, at 14:30, H.E. the President will
depart for Namibia to attend the 15th Independence Anniversary and the
Inauguration of the Second President of the Republic.

Tuesday (22/3/05): H.E. is scheduled to return from Namibia in the
morning, landing at SSK International Airport at about 9:30 AM.

Wednesday (23/3/05): It is anticipated that H.E. the President will
receive an important international visitor in the late afternoon at the
Office of the President. Further details will be made available pending

Thursday (31/3/05): In the evening, from 19:00, H.E. the President is
scheduled to attend a dinner sponsored by LionOre Mining "to mark the
celebration of the company's listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and
the first production of nickel metal in Botswana from its proprietary
Activox (c) processing technology."

C. OP Press Coverage Highlights

Tuesday: In the morning H.E. the President chaired a meeting of the
Economic Committee of Cabinet, which was briefed by the Vision 2016
Council [D 2].

Wednesday: In the afternoon, H.E. the President attended the annual
Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Medals Parade at the Sir Seretse Khama
Barracks, Mogoditshane. Thereafter he met with the Hon. Donald Kaberuka,
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of the Republic of Rwanda, who
was acting as a Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Rwanda, Paul

Thursday: In the afternoon, H.E. the President met with the Governor of
the Bank of Botswana, Mrs. Linah K. Mohohlo, and the High Commissioner
of the United Kingdom, Mr. David B. Merry, C.M.G. The purpose of the
meeting was for the two to formally present the President with the 17
member Commission for Africa Report, of which Mrs. Mohohlo was a member.

Friday: In the morning H.E. the President gave an exclusive interview to
reporters from The Voice newspaper. In the afternoon he travelled to
Francistown in order to take part in a donation ceremony at the
Francistown Centre for the Deaf in his capacity as the Patron of the
Botswana Society for the Deaf. During the ceremony the Centre received a
cheque for P 100,000 from Botswana Life Insurance, which was delivered
by the Company's Managing Director, Mrs. Regina Vaka.

Saturday: In the morning H.E. the President took part in the annual BDF
Day Activities at the National Stadium in Gaborone. This evening he is
also expected to attend the BDF Mess Night.

D. H.E. the President's Statements at:

1) On the occasion of Commonwealth Day 2005 (14/3/05)
2)  Vision Council briefing of the Economic Committee of Cabinet

D 1) 14/3/05: H.E. the President, Mr. Festus G. Mogae's, message on the
occasion of Commonwealth Day 2005

Today we in Botswana join with others around the world in celebrating
our collective membership in the Commonwealth family of nations. We
celebrate our shared values, our commitment to peace, democracy and
human rights and our determination to co-operate with each other in a
spirit of solidarity.

This year in particular we also recognize the crucial role education
plays in building strong communities, generating growth and creating
opportunities for all the people of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth is a modern, vibrant network of people who, through
their knowledge and expertise, assist each other to grow. These
partnerships contribute to a global dialogue in which citizens from
every part of the Commonwealth benefit from each other's skills and

We, in Botswana, can feel stronger knowing that, through the
Commonwealth, we are connected to 52 other nations with which we share a
working language, certain fundamental values, similar institutions and a
joint commitment to build peace and deliver prosperity to our people.

The Commonwealth is also a unique forum for global diplomacy, which uses
the power of consensus to make multilateralism work. At the Commonwealth
table, all voices are heard.

As a nation, we have greatly benefited from being a part of the
Commonwealth network through the years and we are confident that we
shall continue to do so in the future.

On this Commonwealth Day, let us all therefore rededicate ourselves to
the association and to the values and goals it represents.


Earlier this morning (15/3/05) the Economic Committee of Cabinet, a body
that incorporates Permanent Secretaries and other senior officials, as
well as members of Cabinet itself, met at the Conference Room of the
Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. There they received a
briefing from members of the Vision 2016 Council on their monitoring and
evaluation efforts. Below please find a transcript of H.E. the
President's opening remarks for the occasion:

1. Your Honour the Vice President, Honourable Ministers, Ladies and
Gentlemen, welcome to the Economic Committee of Cabinet meeting to
discuss the Progress Report on Vision 2016 and, in particular, the
Monitoring and Evaluation System.

2. The Report was distributed to all members ahead of time to allow you
to study it in-depth in order to see how best we can improve our
strategies and general approach to Vision 2016 implementation. I must
emphasise again that Vision 2016 is a collective endeavour that requires
Government agencies and other national stakeholders to be mutually
supportive and focused on the road ahead.  As leaders in our respective
sectors, we have crucial roles to play.

3. This Report is a first attempt by the Vision 2016 Council to evaluate
what has been achieved relative to the Vision 2016 goals.  The Report
acknowledges gaps and shortcomings, which will be addressed as we go
forward. We should all contribute to the further development of the
Monitoring and Evaluation System as it is very critical tool to
assessing progress towards Vision 2016 goals.

4. This Report is coming at a time when Government is facing budgetary
challenges.  But, I am convinced that with the resources at our
disposal, we can still make significant progress.  And we also have to
remember that the Vision is not only about material human progress but
also about our values and norms as a Nation.

5. I urge all of you to use the imminent Mid-Term Review of NDP 9 to
sharpen our strategies towards the accomplishment of Vision 2016.  In
particular, we should assess where we stand and elaborate clear and
unambiguous targets up to the year 2016, which is only 11 years away.

6. May I also appeal to you to be open-minded in discussing the Report
and focus on measures that will propel us forward.  We all need to be
creative and innovative to make meaningful progress.  The value of any
monitoring and evaluation system is in presenting timely and relevant
information that can be used to make improvements in identified areas.
Objectivity is a key factor as working on hunch can sometimes lead to
misleading conclusions.

7. Once again, I also appeal to you to work closely with the Vision 2016
Council at all times.  The Council is not on a solo journey to Vision
2016.  We are all members of the relay team and have to play our part.

8. Your honour the Vice President, Honourable Ministers, Ladies and
Gentlemen, I am told some visual aids are going to be used. At this
point, I would like to ask the Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs
and Public Administration to introduce the team that is going to do the
presentation.  The team should take us through the Report for not more
than 45 minutes.  After the presentation, I will open the floor for

E. OP Press Office Forwarding:

E 1) 16/3/05: Letter to the Editor of the Monitor newspaper:

Re: You're Report "The Politics of the Good Case"

With reference to the above article by yourself, which appeared in the
14/3/05 edition of your paper, this Office wishes to draw your attention
to our concern about the following sentence, which appears in the third
paragraph of the said article:

"The lawyers say they wanted to meet the President and talk this thing
over but they were not granted the request."

For the record we wish to inform both you and the wider public that
neither H.E. the President nor anyone else in this Office has received
any such request from Prof. Good's lawyers for any such a meeting.

Insofar as no such request was ever received, it certainly follows that
no such request from Prof. Good's was ever refused.

Finally, and with reference to the "Good Practice" clauses of the Media
Code of Ethics, I take this opportunity to remind you and other members
of the press that this Office remains available to confirm the accuracy
of such information with regard to H.E. the President. In this respect
we would further caution members of the Press about accepting at face
value, without verification, information regarding H.E. the President,
which may be communicated by unreliable and/or dishonest sources.

[According to subsequent communications with concerned parties, it is
alleged that the lawyers in question claim to have approached the
Attorney General's Chambers, who do not, however, share their
interpretation of the matter. The above statement should at the very
least clarify any confusion with respect to this Office.]

E 2) 17/3/05: Letter to the Editor of the Star (Johannesburg)

The article by Patrick Laurence entitled "Succession tussles plague
Africa", which was published in the 16/3/05 edition of your newspaper,
contains a number of factual errors, which taken together present a
distorted picture of political developments in Botswana.

It is, for example, factually incorrect to state that: "...the
succession of Ketumile Masire to the presidency in 1980 on the death of
Sir Seretse Khama, and that of Festus Mogae on the retirement of Masire
in 1998, took place without reference to the wishes of the people, as
the men in question did not have popular constituencies."

Prior to assuming the Presidency, our former President, Sir Ketumile
Masire, was the elected MP for the Ngwaketse West constituency, while
Festus Mogae was the elected MP for Palapye when he assumed the highest

It is also untrue to state that: "When Masire was defeated in his quest
to secure a seat in parliament in his Kanye constituency in 1969 and
1974, Seretse abolished the requirement that the vice president should
be an elected member of parliament, thus opening the way for Masire to
succeed him in 1980 without having won an election."

Masire did lose the Kanye seat in 1969, and thereafter re-entered
Parliament as one of the four additional members that are elected by
Parliament itself, as was already provided for under the Constitution.
In the 1974 ballot, and again in 1979, he was directly elected to
represent Ngwaketse West.

It is also untrue to state that: "Later, after his accession to the
presidency, Masire appointed Festus Mogae, a top civil servant who was
co-opted into parliament rather than elected to it, to serve as his vice

Festus Mogae was in fact Masire's third Vice President. The late Peter
Mmusi was Vice President when Mogae first entered Parliament. Mogae was,
as already noted, became the elected MP for Palapye while Vice

It is also relevant to once more note that for one to assume the Office
of Vice President in Botswana one must first be endorsed by a majority
vote of Parliament.

Further to the above, our current Vice President, Seretse Khama Ian
Khama, was elected to Parliament in 1998 as an MP for Serowe, a seat
that he has subsequently retained in two national elections. He,
furthermore, owes his position as Vice President to a vote of
Parliament. In November 2004 he was elected to the post for a third time
by a vote of 44 MPs in favour with 13 abstentions (the latter happens to
coincide with the total number of opposition party MPs). This followed a
campaign in which he and Mogae ran as a ticket and in which the issue of
succession was placed before the people.

Further to the above, in order to better ensure popular understanding of
the various issues at stake, in the months leading up to the election
the national public radio sponsored and aired to the entire nation
nightly prime time debates among all candidates in every constituency.
The public media also sponsored additional televised debates and other
forms of voter education in accordance with guidelines drawn up in
consultation with the Independent Electoral Commission and other civil
society stakeholders.

Like South Africa and many other nations in the world, including most of
Europe and the Commonwealth, since 1965 Botswana has developed as a
multi-party Parliamentary democracy operating under a Westminster style
Constitution. As such our President, as the head of government, is
elected by virtue of his or her support in Parliament of which he or she
is and remains a member.

While we have never claimed to be flawless, we would challenge the likes
of Patrick Laurence to point out any perceived deficiencies in our setup
in the context of a genuine knowledge of how our system of government
actually operates, rather than the regurgitation of ignorance and

There are of course alternative political models. The citizens of this
country have in the past amended their Constitution, the introduction of
term limits for our President's being but one relevant example. They may
do so again, just like the citizens of other democracies around the
world, for in no society are issues governance ever stagnant.

As it is, it would appear that your liberal commentators are narrowly
obsessed with the supposed deficiencies of black leadership on this
continent. Perhaps both the quality and credibility of their analysis
would be enhanced if they tackled questions of governance a bit more
broadly, as well as accurately.

E 3) Additional notices and forwarding for the week ending on 19/3/05:
* 14/3/05: OP Press Schedule Changes
* 15/3/05: Further OP Press Schedule changes for Wednesday and Thursday
* 16/3/05: OP Press Schedule additions for Friday
* 19/3/05: Daily Free Press (Boston) on Former President Sir Ketumile
* 19/3/05: Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Botswana as a
benchmark for implementation of the Commission for Africa Report