Republic of Botswana (22/7/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 25 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Dear Democrats, We as a Party and country have seen, in the last few
years, mixed fortunes. We have known the good and the bad. Let me
account to you for some of it. If some things I report on should seem
negative, understand that it is important that they be aired, for
molemo wa mahoko ke go buiwa. It would be to give the wrong
impression of the state of the Party and nation if were I to speak
only of the good." - President Mogae [D]
A. Basarwa (San) deny torture allegations
B. Press Schedule
C. The Weeks That Were
D. Keynote Address by H.E. Mr. Festus Mogae, President of the
Republic of Botswana and Party President at the 31st National
Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party in Serowe (16/7/05)
E. Press Office Forwarding:
1) 13/7/05: Press Release: Misleading Reports by Radio Botswana
and the Daily News
2) 15/7/05: Press Release: Misleading Report by IRIN
3) 15/7/05: Response to Sunday Standard Newspaper article
entitled: "Botswana could be used to oust Mugabe"
4) 21/7/05: Press Release: President Mogae signs Instrument of
Accession to the AU Peace and Security Council (21/7/05)
5) Additional notes and forwarding
A. Basarwa (San) reportedly deny torture allegations
The previous, 9/7/05, edition of this circular included a Press
Release issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Dr. Gakale, communicating the
Department of Wildlife and National Parks' denial that its officers
had been guilty of abusing suspected poachers. The release was in
response to a Statement put out by the London based Survival
International organisation and a subsequent article that appeared in
the 1/7/05 edition of The Voice newspaper.
Since the above, this Office has received an initial report of the
findings of an investigation committee that went to Kaudwane and
Kutse to look further into the allegations. In their investigation
the committee separately interviewed each of the alleged victims of
the abuse. All are reported to have denied the detailed torture
claims supposedly made on their behalf.
Tsuo Tshiamo, who does not speak Setswana well and was thus
interviewed through an interpreter, was reported to have specifically
denied having ever been either handcuffed to the bull bar of a Toyota
Land Cruiser or "trussed like a chicken" or having been made to run
for a long distance. That he had otherwise been handcuffed, after
allegedly resisted arrest, has from the beginning been acknowledged
in the statement by the arresting officers who maintain the action
was carried out in an appropriate manner.
Keediwe Nkagela also said he had not been tortured. He further said
that when he had been interviewed by some journalists it had been
through an interpreter.
For his part Letshwao Nagayame is reported to have strongly denied
ever having been abused in his private parts by any wildlife officers.
The committee also interviewed a male nurse at the Kaudwane clinic
who had treated Letshwao and Moarama Nagayame for body and joint
pains. The nurse confirmed that though he treated them, they did not
show any signs of physical abuse.
The local police officer at Kaudwane reported that he had also seen
Letshwao and Moarama Nagayame on the 14th of June, after they had
been apprehended by wildlife officers. He stated that he had found no
physical or other evidence of torture or brutality.
In light of the above the committee is of the opinion "that the
allegations made by both Survival International and The Voice
newspaper that Basarwa suspects were ill-treated by wildlife officers
do not have substance" insofar "the very people who are alleged to be
torture victims did not validate such claims. They unequivocally
dispute them. Similarly the Kaudwane clinic nurse who has treated
Letshwao and Maorama averred that contrary to the allegations, the
two did not have bruises when they appeared before him for treatment."
This week we welcome the emergence of another local newspaper, The
Echo, which claims in its inaugural edition that it will be a
"community newspaper" that will practice "community journalism".
Respected veteran local journalist Bashi Letsididi is the new paper's
Editor, while its Managing Director is William Jones, the founder and
former Managing Director of this country's oldest private newspaper
in continuous circulation, The Botswana Guardian. If for no other
reason than its pledge to avoid writing about party politics, The
Echo certainly promises to provide its readers with something
- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (22/7/05)
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.
Saturday (23/7/05): In the morning, at 9:00 AM, H.E. the President
will depart for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he will open the 3rd
International AIDS Society (I.A.S.) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis
and Treatment and have an Official Visit at the invitation of the
Brazilian President H.E. Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.
Among those accompanying the President in Brazil will be: The First
Lady, Mrs. Barbara Mogae; Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe; Hon. Members of
Parliament Mr. Botsalo Ntuane and Mr. Dumelang Saleshando; NACA
Coordinator Mr. Batho Chris Molomo; and the President's Press
Secretary, Dr. Jeff Ramsay
Sunday (24/7/05): In the late afternoon H.E. the President will take
part in a press conference. Thereafter, from 19:00 Rio time (CAT -5),
he will deliver the Keynote Address at the Opening of the 3rd I.A.S.
Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment. I.A.S. is the world's
largest and most respected professional society for scientists,
health care and public health workers, and others engaged in HIV/AIDS
prevention, control and care.
Monday (25/7/05): H.E. the President will begin his Official Visit in
Rio de Janeiro. During the day he is expected to go the headquarters
of Brazil's National Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories or
"ALANAC", where he will meet with its Chairperson, Mr. Josimar
Henrique da Silva. Thereafter he is also expected to visit the
Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology or Far-Manguinhos, which is
one of the country's leading laboratories in the field of HIV/AIDS
research. Also on his schedule, but still to be confirmed, is a
Courtesy Call on the Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Ms.
Tuesday (26/7/05): In the morning H.E. the President, along with
other members of his delegation will travel to the Brazilian capital,
Brasilia. Upon arrival he will first go to the National Congress
where he will meet with the President of the Brazilian Senate, Mr.
Jose Renen Vasconcelos Calheiros.
Thereafter the President and his delegation will proceed to the
Palacio do Planalto (Brazil's State House) for an official ceremony
and talks with the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil,
H.E. Luiz Inancio Lula da Silva, along with other members of his
administration. Bilateral and multilateral issues likely to be raised
may include, among others, South-South trade and investment,
cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and sports development.
The talks are expected to be followed by the signing of a Technical
Cooperation Agreement between Botswana and Brazil. The agreement will
be singed by the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe and his Brazilian counterpart,
the Hon. Minister Celso Amorim.
In the early afternoon a luncheon will be held in honour of H.E. the
President at the Itamatury Palace, which is the headquarters of the
Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations.
In the late afternoon, H.E. the President will pay a courtesy call on
the President of Brazil's Supreme Court, the Hon. Nelson Azevedo
Jobim, before returning in the evening to Rio de Janeiro.
Wednesday (27/7/05): H.E. the President is scheduled to return to
Botswana, arriving at SSK International Airport at 22:45.
Friday (29/7/05): In the evening, from 19:30, H.E. the President will
attend the annual UB Foundation Fundraising Dinner, which will have
as its featured speaker the South African Minister of Finance, the
Hon. Trevor Manuel.
C. OP Press Highlights 13-22/7/05:
Wednesday (13/7/05): H.E. the President gave an exclusive farewell
interview to Barry Baxter, who this past week stepped down as the
resident Reuters correspondent returning to his native England. Over
the past decade and a half Mr. Baxter has been a prominent and
respected figure in local media circles.
Saturday (16/7/05) - Tuesday (19/7/05): H.E. the President attended
and delivered opening address [D] and closing remarks at the National
Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in Serowe, which
received extensive domestic media coverage.
Monday (18/7/05): During the day H.E. the President attended the
annual President's Day celebrations, which were held this year in
Wednesday (20/7/05): In a move that, in the words of one local
private newspaper, "has been hailed as a show of the true spirit of
reconciliation and mutual accommodation" the President used his
prerogative to appoint five additional members to the ruling party's
Central Committee. Also in the morning, the First Lady received this
year's "Face of Africa" winner, Ms. Kaone Kario, at State House.
Thursday (21/7/05): In the morning, H.E. the President met with the
visiting African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Ms. Bience
Gawanas, who briefed him on her mission as the head of an A.U.
evaluation team that had been tasked with looking into Botswana's
ongoing preparations for the hosting the 2nd Ordinary A.U. Session of
the Council of Ministers of Health, which is scheduled to take place
in Gaborone 10-14 October. The Commissioner also formally received
Botswana's Instrument of Accession to the Protocol on the Peace and
Security Council of the African Union [E 4].
At noon, the President received a farewell call from the outgoing
U.S. Ambassador H.E. Mr. Joseph Huggins.
In the afternoon the President received a courtesy call from five
students of Westwood International School who have been selected to
attend the Global Young Leaders Conference, to be held over two weeks
in Washington D.C. and New York City.
In the evening the President Officially opened the new Barclay's Bank
Premier/Prestige suite at the Carbo Centre adjacent to River Walk.
D. Keynote Address by H.E. Mr. Festus Mogae, President of the
Republic of Botswana and Party President at the 31st National
Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party in Serowe (16/7/05)
The Party Chairman, His Honour the Vice President Lt. Gen. Seretse
Khama Ian Khama
Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane
Members of the Central Committee
Fraternal Guests from the sister Organisations of the:
- African National Congress of South Africa
- Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania
- Lesotho Congress for Democracy
- Movement for Multi Party Democracy of Zambia
- Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola
- South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) of Namibia
- Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU/PF) of Zimbabwe
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
The Chairperson of the National Women's Wing, Hon Botlogile
Tshireletso and members of your Committee
The Chairperson of The National Youth Wing, Mr Peter Meswele and
members of your Committee
Regional Chairpersons and Secretaries
Branch Chairpersons and Secretaries
Honourable Members of Parliament
WELCOME & EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION
1. It is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to this the
31st National Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party. I extend
special recognition to our guests from ruling parties of our
neighbour countries and other fraternal Parties from the SADC Region.
They honour us greatly by their presence, which has become an
enriching feature of our bi-annual Congress. That we should, in the
Region, attend each other's congresses and conferences is further
testimony to the strong bonds of friendship that our peoples, who
historically are one people, have always and will to time unending
enjoy. May the Lord strengthen the ties until a time when, once
again, we shall no longer speak of bonds of friendship but of
brotherhood and sisterhood.
2. In thanking you for coming, I must express our appreciation
for the fraternal messages you will deliver today, and look forward
with excitement to the wise counsel and encouragement you will offer
us. We will heed and seek to apply any counsel you give, for we can
only be the better for doing so.
3. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, those great friends of ours
who and whose countries have, when they have no natural obligation to
do so, made a strong commitment to contributing to the improvement of
the lot of our people, have become an indispensable part of our
lives, which makes their presence in our Congress a necessary part of
it. I thank you, and ask that it may continue to be so.
4. Although not present on account of a long planned commitment
in the United States, Sir Ketumile, our coveted former Leader and
President unto whose fatherly care the founders of our great Party
have entrusted us, mosalagae mollo o se time, continues to inspire
and strengthen our resolve with his religious commitment and omni
presence. May the Lord keep him for we and this country shall need
him forevermore. Never alone, the Party veterans who join him serve a
similar role, and their continuing care can only reassure us that we
are not alone as we trudge the path of service to our people. May
they all continue to enjoy good health, for goodness knows we are the
stronger for their continued presence.
5. Last but not least, ma-Domkrag a mantle, what is Botswana
without you? What would we have did you not give wholly of
yourselves? Where would Batswana be had you not brought them to the
land of milk and honey that Botswana, compared to what it was prior
to Independence, now is? I know you remember always that yours is a
sacred trust, a one no one else is capable of keeping, for you never
fail to hold up your end of the bargain, hence your presence here
these next few days. Yours shall be a great reward! Allow me to now
rally you to a thunderous welcome to all our guests with a chant of
Tsholetsa Domkrag Tsholetsa!
6. Dear Democrats, We as a Party and country have seen, in the
last few years, mixed fortunes. We have known the good and the bad.
Let me account to you for some of it. If some things I report on
should seem negative, understand that it is important that they be
aired, for molemo wa mahoko ke go buiwa. It would be to give the
wrong impression of the state of the Party and nation were I to speak
only of the good. What is satisfying, however, is that that which
seems negative is easily corrected, with your assistance and
participation, hence the need to call attention to it.
THE GENERAL ELECTIONS
7. The general elections came and went and, naturally, we
prevailed as ever before. Peaceful, proper and without taint, they
passed and Batswana returned to their lives well expecting that we
should perform on our Manifesto, promises, policies and programmes.
And so they should expect, for they returned their natural and only
Party of democracy, governance, development and unshakable stability
to power with 44 Parliamentary seats out of 57. It is, by any
standards, an overwhelming mandate.
8. Some say we should worry that we were elected by 213,308
people, constituting 50.63% while the combined opposition vote was
207,999 representing 49.37%. I say not unduly. Some go so far as to
suggest that a united opposition would be certain to win the next
general elections and ascend to Government. Even as I accept that we
do need to act to assure greater numbers for our Party, I also say
that a proper analysis yields an impression entirely different from
the wishful thinking of our detractors.
9. What they do not tell us is that the 2004 voter turn out of
421,307 represents 76.2% of all registered voters, which means that
24.8% or 131,541 registered voters did not vote. When you consider
that we had then been in power continuously for 38 years, many
Batswana do not find it necessary to vote because they know who will
win, and our Party membership now is about 313,805, the likelihood is
higher than not that most of those who did not vote would have voted
BDP had they done so, for opposition supporters have a greater
incentive to vote than not to vote. In fact, on the numbers, it means
that approximately 100,497 members of the BDP did not vote. Had they
voted, and they were qualified to do so, we would have been elected
by more people by this number, and the difference between numbers
garnered by our Party against the combined opposition would have not
seemed so little. I derive my figures from the Independent Electoral
Commission and the Party membership figures from the Secretary
10. Of course there are many other considerations which our
detractors do not take account of. Batswana know that our electoral
system is constituency based, and we commanded greater numbers than
the combined opposition in each of 44 of 57 constituencies, or 77.19
% of constituencies. A similar picture emerges when one considers
Council seats. Out of a total of 490, we hold 335 or 68.36%, and the
combined opposition 155 or 31.64%. They also do not tell you that,
to our credit, we won 12 marginal constituencies, in which we must
consolidate our victory.
11. Proportional representation may have its advantages, and I do
not say that they exceed those of the constituency-based system, but
I do say that wards and constituents are entitled to decide on the
person who is going to represent them in Council and in Parliament.
Indeed, some countries who elected the system of proportional
representation want to change to the constituency-based system for
perfectly good reasons.
12. Far be it that I should say we should rest on our laurels.
Indeed, I do below acknowledge difficulties that we have, express my
concerns and urge upon the Party the necessity to introspect and act
to assure better fortunes for the future. In the light of the tragic
state of our opposition, we of the BDP have a responsibility to the
country that we cannot abdicate, hence the necessity to ensure that
we are in sufficiently good health as a Party. In any event, the
taxpayer cannot afford more Councils losing P24 million each due to
the mismanagement of Council affairs.
13. Their talk of unity or pacts is laughable for, far from
troubling us, perhaps we should wish it as it will, in all
likelihood, mean that there are more of them to physically fight,
vultures that they are, over positions they do not have and will not
have for a long time to come. As for election pacts, we all know
that they mean that the Botswana National Front takes all the viable
constituencies and the rest take the impossible ones.
PERFORMANCE ON OUR MANDATE
14. Victory in elections yields to hard work and the need and
obligation to fulfil on the people's mandate. In place for the
purpose is the Party's Election Manifesto, and the Ninth National
Development Plan, and many of our continuing policies and programmes.
They are all Vision 2016 compliant, and we continue to sharpen, hone
and improve upon them. There is no letting the people down, for what
are we without them, and what is the country without us?
15. Fellow Democrats, the duty to ensure delivery upon our
people's needs is no more that of the Government than it is yours.
You live amongst and are part of the people, and your Government
requires your feedback on how implementation proceeds, and whether it
is to your and their satisfaction. Trouble us, a most welcome
trouble, with how we may serve you and them better. Your Councillors
and Members of Parliament you must give sleepless nights, though
only some of the time, for you and our people accepted their offer of
themselves to serve, and serve you must make them do if they will not
without your doing so. If they should ask you why you bother them,
answer that it is at my urging that you do! We are, this far, doing
relatively well. However, government is not without its difficulties.
In speaking of challenges facing us as a nation I said in my State of
the Nation address on the opening of the Ninth Parliament, and I can
do no better than quote, "our ability to build a more prosperous and
equitable society will thus be determined by our capacity to meet
external as well as internal challenges. This will call for both
change and continuity, for greater self-reliance and partnership....
Let us together here also humbly recognize that, notwithstanding the
assertions of some, we are not, as yet, a "rich country". By any
reasonable measure of our income and assets-human and material-we are
still very much a developing society located within a still
marginalized, as well as developing, continent".
17. By reason of the outbreak and escalation of HIV/AIDS, the
relative depreciation in the per carat value of our diamond exports,
the weak performance of the non mining sectors of the economy, and
other un anticipatable and unanticipated needs, we have had to divert
public funds from deserving projects, for we had less money and
greater emerging needs. A further consequence of the above reversals
has been the rise of unemployment to current levels of just above 20
%, a matter of the most critical concern.
18. Fortunately, the outlook of the economy is satisfactory. The
projected growth rate of the current year must yet be worked out, but
it was 5.7% as at the year ended 31st March 2005. There is no reason
to think that any decline that may have occurred since would be
significant, and the known growth rate compares well with the annual
average of 5.5% envisaged during NDP 9. It is anticipated that most
of this growth will come from sectors other than mining and
government, which is a welcome indication that our diversification
efforts may be taking root.
19. In my State of the Nation address to Parliament, I spoke of
appreciable levels of improved infrastructure, what the United
Nations have in a report on our country lauded as a
"telecommunications revolution", expanding business opportunities
through the Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME) and CEDA and
20. While our poverty alleviation efforts have yielded an about
50% reduction of the percentage of our people who live below the
poverty datum line during the period 1986 to 2003, the full
elimination of poverty and the total halt of the spread of HIV remain
our top priorities. In this regard, Government is committed to
expediting the implementation of the National Poverty Reduction
Strategy and the newly approved Rural Development Policy.
21. I pledge our continued efforts to the effective
implementation of NDP 9 projects which is central to our goal of
eradicating poverty. We have in place initiatives which are directed
at expanding educational and employment creation opportunities
targeting youth, who are the segment of our society worst affected by
unemployment. My State of the Nation address to Parliament and the
nation deals with these and other matters in detail, and charts the
course that Government proposes to take and the role of the private
sector and others in the task of overcoming these challenges and
giving unto our people the best that their country can, at this and
in the evolution of time, manage. Much of what I said then remains
valid and encapsulates the present and immediate and medium term
22. I announced, in November 2004, that Government would be
reviewing NDP 9 commencing March 2005, and that the Draft Review
would be discussed by Parliament in the November 2005 session. I then
urged, which I again do, Members of Parliament to consult their
constituents on the process to ensure that the outcome reflects the
nation's realistic aspirations. I invite Councillors to join Members
of Parliament in such consultations, and to themselves ensure
desirable outcomes. MaDomkrag a a rategang, please spur on and
support your Councillors and Members of Parliament in this effort.
23. Government has, in addition to the above, had to find other
sources of money in order to minimise that which has to be forgone on
account of the depreciation in our financial position as a country.
Cost saving and cost recovery by Government Ministries and
Departments are some such sources. Forgive us if, in seeking a
service you used to get at no cost you are now asked to contribute a
small amount to the cost of making that service available. Secondly,
please understand if you get a little less of a free service than you
used to get on account of cost saving measures which have had to be
implemented. Please urge similar understanding upon the nation when
you return to your homes at the conclusion of this Congress.
24. Dear Democrats, you can, in addition to the above, play other
roles in assisting meet some of these challenges. Government
financial schemes such as CEDA are available to lend you money to
commence business, however small, in which you can keep yourself
employed and give employment to others. Those of you who constitute a
part of the labour market can refrain and bring your influence to
bear upon other labour to make do with what they currently earn and
not demand more in the current economic climate in which more harm
than good would result to the nation from such demands being made.
Remind them that our ability to attract and retain direct foreign
investment depends in part on the discipline of a labour force. Lest
they forget, cause them to understand that their position is a great
improvement on the position in which those who are unable to find
employment are placed. Ask them to remember the many Batswana who are
in the unfortunate position, not only of being unemployed, but of
being unemployable and the little with which they have to make do at
the best of times. Tell them that it is better that more people
remain employed than that others should have to be retrenched because
an employer cannot keep a large labour force on by reason of the
demands of labour for higher financial rewards. Labour should need
no telling that they are partners in the industry in which they work,
and that their self application will result in higher productivity
and their employment and that of others assured for a longer time.
25. Government has, batho betsho, had to implement its new policy
of asking parents to partner with it in the education of their
children. Those parents who can reasonably afford to make a financial
contribution to the education of their children should please do so.
This policy, as has many times been stated, does not signal the end
to free education; no child whose parents are unable to make a
contribution will be turned out of school. The policy, on which the
nation was consulted before it was implemented, is designed to
alleviate the financial position of the Government in order that more
rather than less may be available to those who need it most. Let
nobody think that it is unfair for some to pay while others do not,
for batho ga ba lekane ese meno. Rather reflect that those who can
afford to make a contribution were placed in that position by
advantages to which all were entitled but which only they could and
did have access.
THE HIV/AIDS CHALLENGE
26. I cannot speak of challenges without giving this pandemic its
pride of place in the hell that is its affliction. As it continues
its grim harvest of premature death, HIV/AIDS remains the greatest
single challenge we collectively face. All pervading evil that it is,
this pandemic threatens to undermine progress in all areas of human
endeavour, hence the urgency of its total destruction.
27. I think that I can say with some comfort and without the fear
of contradiction that while we may not have yet turned the corner,
some progress we have made in the campaign against the scourge. We
are progressively acquiring capacity, in terms of both knowledge and
infrastructure, to achieve victory. The positive response to our
routine testing initiative is overwhelming, and the roll out of the
Anti-Retroviral (ARV) programme heartening, if not wholly satisfying.
Although these successes have created their own problems, those
problems are well in hand, and we are confident that we will overcome
them. While we believe that we will eventually achieve an AIDS free
generation, and more and more of our people will be able to live
positively for much longer periods, the danger remains large and the
need for vigilance is no less.
28. Let us remember and remind all others when we get back to our
homes that Aids kills, after however long, no cure for it having been
found and there being no prospect on the horizon that one will be
found soon or at all. Nobody need get it and, while total abstinence
and chastity until marriage and faithfulness in marriage are the
surest guarantee, a combination of male or female condom and a
measure of good luck are the imperatives, and cost nothing in
comparison to the alternative. May this be the song we all sing and
live daily, for that vital is the survival of our nation. It would
not be forgivable for me to omit to thank our friends, both local and
international, for their financial and other support. May it continue
to flow, for the war is far from won. I should also thank those of
our people who have heeded the clarion call to greater care and
protection of themselves and others with whom they have contact, and
to the assistance to others that many have and continue to extend.
May we go forward in this and better vein.
DROUGHT RELIEF & SOCIAL SAFETY NET
29. Vision 2016, which must guide us and which we all must ever
keep in view in all we do in the affairs of the nation, requires of
us to remain a compassionate, caring and just nation. And so,
whatever our difficulties and their scale, and whatever measures we
put in place or constraints we are compelled to impose, we as a
Government retain and assure the nation of our readiness at all times
to cushion the needs of those of our people who, by reason of their
situation in our nation, need our intervention. Hence I have just
last week had to declare the entire country drought stricken and
announced relief measures which will be implemented to mitigate the
rigors of the stubbornly recurring drought. While our efforts to
integrate into mainstream society those of our people who are
marginalized by circumstance proceed, we remain committed to the
continued provision to them of social safety net programmes for their
upkeep and maintenance. These people include remote area dwellers,
orphans and the destitute, those with disabilities, and able bodied
people who get employment in labour intensive public works programmes.
GABORONE WATER CRISIS
31. It is a matter of the greatest sadness that, as I am sure you
all have either read or heard that the capital city suffers a
continuing water supply shortage. By reason of a persistent drought
and continually failing rains, water in the Gaborone dam has
progressively been declining and currently stands at 21% which the
Water Utilities Corporation believes should last for another four
months to October. Although we hope that it will rain sufficiently
before then for the depletion to be tempered or reversed, there is
nothing to suggest that there are prospects of it raining by then.
Bana ba lona at the Water Utilities Corporation have and continue to
work tirelessly to find viable alternative supplies. Currently
expert efforts, which they call 'optimization', are being made to
ensure that the North South Carrier is able to supply at least 75% of
the water needs of the capital city in the event that the dam should
dry up. In addition thereto, the Corporation continue to evaluate
other options such as the recycling of waste water from Gaborone and
Ramotswa, and other possible sources in the medium and long term.
Contrary to the mischievous slur of such water that we have seen in
one of our newspapers recently, technology is in use which ensures
the recycling of water which, far from meriting the mischievous label
of 'toilet water', is perfectly healthy for human consumption. Many
countries of the world, which include the UK, France, Holland and
Namibia, use recycled sewerage water for every day human consumption.
London and Windhoek are amongst prime examples of cities which do.
There is altogether no reason why Gaborone should not if it should
become necessary. I ask that the country continues to pray for rain
so that, not only Gaborone but the rest of the country, may again
benefit from the many uses for which our country needs rain.
32. In my State of the Nation address to Parliament in November
last year, I reported to the Nation with pride the good performance
of some of our sporting talent, and the fact that they continue to do
us proud. I must record that our sporting heroes continue to do that.
I must single out the Zebras, our National Football Team, whose
performance is steadily approaching competitive levels with the best
on the continent. They deserve our praise and encouragement. All
athletes must know that Government and the people of this country
will continue to give them all the support we can. We look forward
to the time, which is clearly close, when we will be counted among
the best on the continent and in the world.
33. The presence here of our good friends on behalf of their
great countries, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the immeasurable
support that they, their predecessors and their countries have from
inception to date extended to us, the frequent superlative terms in
which the international community constantly speaks of us as a
country and people and our achievements, speak with unequalled
eloquence of the condition and state of our relations with the rest
of the world. Relations with all our neighbours and all other
countries could not be better, and for no more can we wish.
PARTY MATTERS & CHALLENGES
34. Fellow Democrats, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me
now turn to matters of intimate concern to the Party and its
condition. Let me assure you that, whatever their seeming magnitude,
they have not lowered the Party to crisis level, nor are they about
to plunge it in the same. Claims by some that the Party is in danger
of losing the next elections by reason of such divisions are without
a substantial basis. What divisions there are, are grossly
exaggerated, are not deep and do not go to the route of the Party;
they are minimal and manifest themselves only in bickering for Party
positions, by some and by no means all, who should know better than
to do so.
35. This is not to say that they are not a matter for concern,
and that they do not require our attention, for they most certainly
do, hence I discuss them below. I should also like you to discuss
them, and make known your disapproval in carefully measured and
restrained tones and terms, and in an appropriate atmosphere, at such
avoidable conduct engaged in by some of us when we know what harm
doing so does to the Party. I invite you to do so because appeals by
the Chairman and I have gone unheeded, and I wish you to set the tone
for the firm disciplinary action that we shall, in the future, take
against such individuals.
36. Although not the first political party to be established, the
BDP quickly distinguished itself from all others by reason of the
characters and qualities of the men and women who founded it and of
those who soon joined them. Outstanding amongst their attractive
qualities was their unflinching recognition that the interests of
Batswana and the country were to be placed ahead of all other
matters. They knew that this was only possible if the Party was
strong, and that the first essential condition of strength was the
unity of all who made up the Party. They saw all too clearly that
self sacrifice and selflessness were prerequisite to unity. This is
not because they were any less human than us and had no personal
aspirations and ambitions. On the contrary, they understood all too
well that the achievement of their personal ambitions and aspirations
depended on the success of the Party, requisite to which was its
unity of purpose and action.
37. It did not take much time for the Motswana to see that the
character of the BDP mirrored his or her own; that the collective had
to be placed high above the individual, the very survival, let alone
the success of the individual, being dependant upon the success of
the whole. The Motswana rallied to the support of the BDP, and it
became a Party of the Motswana, a Party of the people. It did because
the Party and its members had embraced the social contract of the
people: that there could be no survival and success of the individual
without that of the Party. This ideal characterized the organization
and management of Party and national affairs, and it is to that unity
of collective purpose and action to which we owe the unprecedented
success of our Party and country.
38. We have, in the last several years, watched our Party's
fortunes progressively diminish. This the Secretary General reports
following every general election. The confidence of the Motswana in
our Party is troublingly receding. The character of the Motswana and
his/her aspirations has not changed, nor have the imperatives of the
social contract reduced in importance. The political Parties also
remain the same. The ordinary member and supporter of the Party has
also not changed. The only thing that has changed is that the
strength of our Party has been undermined by its diminishing unity.
This is not in any way the fault of the ordinary member of the Party;
responsibility for this is entirely that of prominent members whose
growing self interest is killing the Party. When once we placed the
interests of the Party, its Government, those of our people and
country first, some of us now increasingly place their selfish
interests ahead of those of the Party, its Government and the
country. The fight for positions in the Party by individuals proceeds
without regard to and to the detriment of the interests of the Party.
This is a tragic betrayal of our forebears in the Party and country,
and of Batswana of today and the future, AND IT MUST AND WILL STOP!
39. It is not too late to reverse the progressive decline of our
Party and to restore fully the confidence of the Motswana. Our
political opponents in the opposition are not any more united, and
our measurably small loss of support has not accrued to their
benefit. The reduction in the numbers that vote for us is due to the
growing apathy of the traditional BDP voter who feels betrayed by the
growing tendency to selfishness by some of our members, and the
prominent of them, I am sorry to say. It becomes necessary to remind
all of you of the signal qualities that our Party Constitution
demands of its members, ordinary and prominent. Article 2 states that
"The object of the Party is to further the interests of the people of
Botswana in terms of (matters stated in) the Preamble, and in terms
of the four National Principles, namely: DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT, SELF
RELIANCE and UNITY as a basis for KAGISANO."
THE ROLE OF EACH AND ALL IN THE PARTY
40. I now must call upon each of you to rethink your role in the
Party and the country. I must ask you to rededicate yourself, as the
Preamble to the Party Constitution requires, to strengthen the BDP as
"...the leading political force in Botswana and (so that it) shall
continue to be a constructive organization in which participatory
democracy shall be maintained, and (as) a Party welded together by
PATRIOTISM and (a) VOLUNTARY DESIRE on the part of MEMBERS of the
Party to belong to the Party". In taking a silent oath in these
terms, prominent in your minds must be the admonition of Article 6
which provides that -
"Membership of the Party entails a heavy responsibility that DEMANDS
HIGH POLITICAL AND MORAL QUALITIES as well as SELFLESS DEDICATION TO
THE CAUSE OF THE PARTY WHICH IS THE CAUSE OF THE PEOPLE."
41. We all have a role in reshaping our Party to meet the
requirements of its Constitution and of our people. The needs of the
Party make it necessary that some should hold Party positions in the
Cells, Wards, Branches, Regions and nationally. Those who seek such
positions must, however, reflect on the sole purpose of those
positions being to serve as the Constitution and the needs of the
Party require, and that self interest is destructive of those and the
purposes of the people and the country. HARD WORK, HARD WORK and HARD
WORK in the service of the Party following election must be the sole
intent of every position seeker. Such people must remember that they
represent value to the Party and the country only if they serve in
42. Those who seek elected position in the Party do not nominate
themselves, nor do they elect themselves. The Party nominator and
voter has no less an obligation to ensure that his/her candidate for
any position has the above as well as all the other qualities
required for the successful discharge of the functions of the
position to which they nominate and elect them. Indeed, the nominator
and voter has perhaps the greater responsibility of ensuring that the
right person is nominated and elected to a particular position, and
that the unsuitability and therefore failure of performance of the
individual they have nominated and voted for is as much that of the
nominator and voter. Detriment to the Party is as much the fault of
the nominator and voter as that of the person elected. It is also as
much the failure of the Mo-Domkrag who abdicates his/her duty to the
Party and the country by non-participation. If we remember that the
non-performance of elected officials and structures is our
non-performance, we will remember that we must strive to do better at
the next election.
43. I must also speak about rivalry amongst structures within the
Party. It is perfectly democratic and in fact encouraged that Party
members compete for positions within the Party. In putting themselves
and/or others forward, and in campaigning for themselves and/or their
preferred candidates, candidates may speak to their suitability and
capability for the positions they seek, as may members of their
preferred candidates. NOBODY, ALTOGETHER NOBODY, is allowed to speak,
in fact at all, about rival candidates. The same goes for campaigning
by pamphlet, poster, T-shirt or other written means. All campaigning
for Party positions must be personal and discreet, and should never
take place at rallies or in newspapers or publication available to
the broader public. This is so for the obvious reason that
inevitably, as we have seen happen in the last few years to recently,
reference to rival candidates and rally and newspaper campaigning
provokes rancorous exchanges, all of it to the detriment of the
Party. Competition for positions in the manner I describe is the only
acceptable rivalry in our Party. All other forms of rivalry are not
and amount to serious misconduct.
44. Similarly, no rivalry amongst Party structures, formal and
informal, is permitted at any level of the Party. There may only be
one Party choir per Cell, Ward, Branch or Region, and no rival choirs
are permitted. The Choir that is allowed is that formed or approved
by the Committee of that Cell, Ward, Branch, or Region, as the case
may be. The same goes for Committees. I recently had to order that
no rallies be held pending this Congress because campaigning for
Party positions had engendered a rivalry which resulted in
undesirable public exchanges by prominent Party members. So intense
were the exchanges that the Party Chairman's plea that they be
avoided had gone unheeded. Stopping rallies was, at the time, the
only effective way of preventing escalation of that harmful
occurrence. May I, once again, plead with Party members that
competition for positions, while normal in a democratic Party and
country can never exceed in importance the interests of the Party,
and occasion great harm to the Party. Shall we all please always
speak and act with circumspection and due regard for the Party and
45. I am told that there is abroad in our country a widespread
and growing impression that the Party is divided into bitterly
opposed factions who have received the official and formal
recognition of the leadership of the Party. There are times when
imputations in the private Press have associated the Party Chairman
and me with one or other of the so called factions. This impression,
I am told, has been deepened by the recent very public political
engagement by each other of groupings of some prominent members of
the Party. As I have said before, the Party Chairman and I are not
and cannot participate in any faction; I have a Party to lead and he
a Party to chair, and our functions and every effort in those
capacities require a whole and united rather than a splintered Party.
We can have no purpose nor derive any advantage from any division of
46. In order to put the consistent Party position on factions
beyond doubt, I here and now record that far from giving factionalism
official recognition, the Party Chairman and I deprecate in the
extreme the possible existence and operation of factions in the
Party. This Party does not need factions and the divisiveness of
these formations. Their existence cannot only serve to deepen what
divisions there may be in the Party, and undermine the very unity and
success upon which we depend as a Party. This would happen if they
embrace ordinary Party members, which I do not believe to be the case
47. In so far as they may be said to exist, such factions serve
no Party function or purpose and represent no ideological
differences. They would operate only to promote the ambitions for
office of their members. It must be plain from what I say above that
seeking Party office and supporting another or others in doing so
requires no group formation of any sort as such formations usually
only engender division, conflict and disunity. I appeal to all in our
Party who may be engaged in factions to disband and withdraw from
them. This Congress must see to the end of any such formations if
they should exist, and we must hear nothing of them hereafter.
48. Much that can be said to be wrong about our Party is a
function of increasingly lacking discipline in some members of our
Party. What is worse is that these include some prominent members,
some of whom hold Party office which makes it their responsibility to
promote, ensure and enforce Party discipline. The Central Committee
has, in the past, tended to be patient and appeared tolerant of
errant conduct. The patience has been exercised with the hope that
those engaged in such conduct would see the error of their ways and
desist. Appeals by the Party Chairman and I have been ignored. We
refrained from taking firmer action and this has, unfortunately, been
mistaken for a weakness or wanting leadership.
49. The Central Committee has now determined that firm and
decisive action against those who harm the Party by their acts of
divisiveness and indiscipline will, whatever their positions be the
course of the future. We no longer can allow the selfish purposes of
individuals to hold the Party to ransom or bring it into disrepute.
It will be the duty of all of us to henceforth protect our Party and
the good name of its disciplined members, who constitute the
overwhelming majority, from all indiscipline, whatever its form.
50. All indications are that all too few Party functionaries and
structures function, and even then only for a brief time in the year.
Regional, Branch, Ward and Cell Committees as well as Party
Councillors and Members of Parliament constitute a perennial link
between the people and their Government through the governing Party
in the case of the Committees, and the Party and Government bodies
and institutions of which they are members in the case of the
Councillors and Members of Parliament. The Government at local and
national levels must, at all times, be made aware of the thinking of
the people, their reaction to and feedback on Government actions and
efforts, their evolving needs and attitudes, and solutions to
problems as they arise and they see them.
51. Most of our Party structures and functionaries, including
many Councillors and Members of Parliament, seem to fall too far
short of this role, I regret to say. We seem to think that activity
becomes necessary only when we must elect delegates to Congresses, or
candidates in primarily elections, and then during Council and
Parliamentary elections. By this attitude, we are engendering in our
people attitudes of mistrust of and cynicism towards politicians.
The Party, to continue to be the Party of true democracy, governance
and development, must at all times be in touch with the people if it
is to serve them well. The hierarchy of Party structures, officers
and officials must provide the continued communication connection,
and must be functional to effectively do so. Functioning will so
lighten member and Party mobilization work as the hard work in which
we engage prior to elections would be spread over a five year period
than have to occur only in a year or a matter of months. The
advantages of continued engagement are immense.
52. Not to be forgotten is another category of structures and
functionaries which have no less vital a role in the affairs of the
Party and nation. The Youth and Women's Wing, and the Sub-Committees
of the Central Committee. Apart from conducting national mobilization
work among Youth and Women, the Wings should constantly be examining
and evaluating the Party and its Government, its Programmes and
Policies against the Party Manifesto and the needs of the nation, and
offering advice and support on adjustments, modifications, challenges
of implementation, and upon all matters that would improve the
service of Government to the people. A similar role must be played
by the Sub-Committees within their respective portfolios, and they
must brainstorm and offer assistance and support to the Central
53. Election to Committees, Council, Parliament, the Wing
Committees, and appointment to Sub-Committees is not done to give
people titles which they can display and of which they can boast.
These structures, officers and officials are entrusted by those who
elect or appoint them, as the case may be, with the sacred task of
serving to enhance the standard of life of the people, and to assist
avail to them the purposes and fruits of development. It is a
betrayal of that position of privilege and trust to neglect to
perform as they should. We should, at this Congress and seminars we
will hold in the future, reflect on what problems explain our serious
failures in this regard, and what we require to do to overcome them.
Our failure to act on this will result in our people progressively
deserting us as a Party, and the Lord help Botswana without the BDP!
54. This system of identifying suitable and competent Party
candidates in local Government and Parliamentary elections which held
out so much promise got off to a shaky start on account of what
turned out to have been insufficient preparation for it. Its
administration was less than satisfactory, and its results, although
sufficiently expressive on the whole of the general wish of Party
members in the Ward and Constituency primary elections, could have
caused less disaffection among many Party members.
55. Too large and unsatisfactory a number of complaints and
appeals resulted from the first attempt at implementation, which in a
sense was a pilot attempt, than was necessary. Although the many
complaints were generally acknowledged as having some merit, even if
they could not justify and make practical a repeat of the process,
circumstances required the Central Committee to adopt a robust
approach to the appeals, upholding only the ones which we felt had
defects too serious to overlook, in the best interests of the Party.
56. We all must accept some responsibility for bulela ditswe
getting off on the sad footing it did, and console ourselves in the
obvious knowledge that it could never be expected of a system so new
and complex and of the magnitude of a mini general election to be
accomplished smoothly on its piloting. We must not engage in
recriminations over it, which can only be an unwelcome and divisive
opportunity for finger-pointing. We must take heart in the knowledge
that we shall, at this Congress and Party seminars and other fora in
the future, examine all that which went wrong and prepare to improve
upon the system in the future.
57. It must be plain from the above that there is a great need
for us as a Party to engage in an introspection and self analysis.
This is especially so after 43 years of existence as a Party and
almost 40 years in Government. The Party will, for this purpose, hold
seminars in due course. The seminars will brainstorm the state and
condition of the Party, and the seminar's expected outcome should,
following implementation, yield the BDP in the form and character
necessary to regain its original glory.
58. I am aware that I have spoken long on what are seemingly
negative matters. It must reflect the seriousness with which I regard
the health and prospects of our Party, and the depth of feeling I
have about the need for us to re-examine yourselves and correct our
wrongs. That important is the unity and health of our Party because
it is the only hope for the survival and continued prosperity of our
country and people.
59. As both the Party Secretary General and Treasurer will
report, the general election last held was probably the most costly
we, as a Party, have ever had, what with 17 more constituencies than
had been the case at the previous such election, and many more
compared to the ones before. We thank you for your own financial
sacrifices without which we would not have been able to participate
in the elections, for the Party's financial contributions to each
ward and constituency is only a fraction of the total cost required
to run a credible campaign. I ask that you pay heed to the pleas of
the Treasurer, for the continued survival and essential prosperity of
our Party will require that you, its members, continue to finance it
by your activities and from sources identified and tapped by you.
60. As is customary the Party will, at the culmination of this
Congress, hold elections to the Central Committee. As is to be
expected some will, of necessity, win while others will lose. Nothing
makes the winners better than the losers. The winners will get their
term to serve and the losers could, in future, themselves get their
turn to do so. I need not express my confidence in the fact that you
will elect the persons most suited to and capable of performing the
functions of the position to which you will be making the election.
We will, of those elected, expect nothing less than dedication and
hard work in the service of the Party during their period of tenure.
I speak of elections and not the "compromise" for none has been
achieved. The Central Committee has decided, in the wake of the
failure of "compromise", that elections will be held. Accordingly,
there will be no discussion of "compromise" at this Congress as that
can serve no purpose.
61. May I also ask that we end our Congress in the spirit of the
love and mutual respect that must obtain amongst us as the family in
whom Batswana repose their trust and confidence to steer and husband
their affairs in a fitting manner. Those elected and their supporters
must, as they celebrate their success, do so with the utmost
restraint and have consideration for the feelings of those who will
have been less fortunate. Let us remember that victory is hollow if
it harms the Party, and it does so if the conduct of the victorious
hurts and offends some of us.
62. Much as I will spend as much time with you as I can, the
immediate affairs of the country require that I, as is usual, leave
you at some point to join the people of Kasane in celebrating
President's Day. I join Batswana in different parts of the country
every year for these celebrations at this time.
63. It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare this
the 31st National Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party open.
May I wish you constructive and fruitful deliberations whose product
should, as it must, further add to the many benefits that this our
great Party has brought to our people. Unto all our veterans and
guests I wish Godspeed!
TSHOLETSA DOMKRAG! TSHOLETSA!!
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
E 1) 13/7/05: Press Release - Misleading Reports by Radio Botswana
and the Daily News:
This Office notes with concern news stories that have appeared during
the last 24 hours over Radio Botswana and in the Daily News, which
falsely suggest that H.E. the President will be meeting today with an
eight man trade union delegation.
Members of the Press, in particular, are advised that no such meeting
has been scheduled. The reports by Radio Botswana and in the Daily
News are therefore inaccurate.
It is of special concern that, not for the first time, such
misleading reports have been published by public service media
institutions that should be models of accuracy on such matters.
In this respect we wish note this Office regularly communicates and
updates H.E. the President's schedule for the benefit of both the
private and public media.
We would further note that we are unaware of any effort on the part
of either the Daily News or Radio Botswana to verify their reports
prior to publication, which is the expected procedure.
E 2) 15/7/05: Press Release - Misleading Report by IRIN:
This Office notes with dismay an article published by the IRIN
(United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network) late
yesterday entitled "Trade unions and president to discuss cooling
labour unrest", which falsely reports that "Botswana's largest trade
union federation is to meet with President Festus Mogae on Friday in
a bid to tackle ongoing labour unrest."
We note with further dismay that the same report is now also being
circulated online by the Reuters Foundation AlertNet.
Members of the press are therefore advised that no such meeting has
In this respect we would once more remind the press in general that
this Office regularly communicates and updates H.E. the President's
schedule for the benefit of domestic and international media.
We further wish to inform the public that we are unaware of any
effort on the part of either the IRIN or Reuters Foundation to verify
the accuracy of their report with us. We have, moreover, specifically
complained to IRIN in the past about such professional lapses.
We also observe that the false IRIN report follows a similar
misleading report that appeared earlier this week over Radio Botswana
and in the Daily News, which had suggested that H.E. the President
was to meet with a trade union delegation this past Wednesday.
It remains a serious concern to us that notwithstanding our press
release of 13/7/05 the Daily News has notably failed to acknowledge
its mistake and has, moreover, continued to publish its false report
online. We find the lack of a prompt an appropriate response from the
Daily News in this respect to be both irresponsible and a violation
of Clause 4 the Press Council of Botswana's Media Code of Ethics, to
which all domestic Public Service, as well as leading Private, news
organisations have pledged to adhere to.
E 3) 15/7/05: Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Standard Newspaper
in response to the newspaper's article "Botswana could be used to
oust Mugabe" [the letter was published in the paper's following,
With reference to the above, let me preface my remarks by saying that
I appreciate the fact that your newspaper often includes in its pages
articles about our country that are otherwise circulating on the
internet. It is certainly in the interest of members of the public
who may have neither the time nor capacity to access such stories to
be exposed to how our country is being (mis)represented online.
As the minority of our citizens who are able to regularly use it are
aware, the internet is a largely unregulated media platform on which
anything can be published. In this context it is important for
reputable news organisations such as your own to exercise caution in
the uncritically downloading material from it for re-publication.
Thus it was that last July this Office had cause to express our
concern after your paper published on its front cover a fantastical
report about a supposed secrete nuclear base underneath the Okavango,
which you had sourced from the Dublin based website of a
self-proclaimed "Author, Screenwriter, Novelist, Film Producer,
Intelligence Expert" named Gordan Thomas, who is known for his
extravagant conspiracy theories involving supposed Jewish agents.
History now appears to have repeated itself in the front page of your
10/7/05 edition, under the headline "Botswana could be used to oust
Mugabe", in which you give unwarranted prominence to a white
supremacist named Jan Lamprecht, whose extremist views are regularly
published on the "Global Politician" website, as well by his own
overtly racist "AfricaCrisis.org" (which your reporter meekly
describes as "politically incorrect").
In once more rushing to publish the blatantly false and irresponsible
notion that Botswana could be used as a military base by Americans in
an attack on a neighbouring SADC state, your report takes at face
value the views of individual whose writings, as even the most casual
reader of his online publications would know, can best be summed up
by his recent statement in the "Global Politician" that:
"The problem is not Africa. The problem is the Black African people."
Some of Lamprecht's other recent columns in the "Global Politician",
which your report curiously characterises as "an international
political agenda setting newspaper" speak at length about the
supposed mental and cultural incapacity of black Africans to govern
themselves, while openly advocating for white Afrikaners to unite
with others in an armed effort to restore apartheid to the region.
For example, from the June "Global Politician', which was also the
source of your article:
"Whites defeated Blacks in the past. It can be done again. In many
ways, with modern technology, it is actually easier than it was back
then. One could debate who has benefited the most from technology. I
believe that if Whites stand together, they would do even better than
in the past. But I think, this time, the Whites must not rule them,
but get them out of our lives for good."
Surely your good paper does not really wish to legitimise the ranting
of such a pathetic hatemonger or the websites that promote him?
E 4) 21/7/05: President Mogae signs Instrument of Accession to the
Protocol of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union
This morning H.E. the President, Festus Mogae, signed and deposited
an Instrument of Accession by the Republic of Botswana to the
Protocol of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU).
The Instrument was formally received from His Excellency by the
visiting African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Ms. Bience
Gawanas, who described the formation of the Council as an important
milestone in the continent's path to greater integration.
In addition to receiving the Instrument of Accession, Ms. Gawanas
briefed the President on her mission as the head of an A.U.
evaluation team that had been tasked with looking into Botswana's
ongoing preparations for the hosting the 2nd Ordinary A.U. Session of
the Council of Ministers of Health, which is scheduled to take place
in Gaborone 10-14 October.
The Commissioner stated that after having consulted with the Minister
of Health, the Hon. Prof. Sheila Tlou, and other local officials, as
well as inspecting the facilities she was "very satisfied" with the
progress being made, noting that the Conference was "well on course".
The Commissioner further observed that the Conference was to have as
its theme "Sustainable Access to Care and Treatment". Among the
issues to be addressed in this context would be the potential of
generic drugs and traditional medicine. She further noted that the AU
health sector had declared 2001-2010 the "Decade of Traditional
For his part, the President said he was encouraged by the
Commissioner's findings adding that he hoped that the meeting would
truly concentrate on the need for sustainable approaches.
On the subject of traditional medicine the President noted that he
was somewhat ambivalent. While he recognised and appreciated the
value of many herbal remedies, he noted the difficulties that were
often encountered in complimenting traditional and non-traditional
medical approaches. This he asserted at times led to complications in
the treatment of such emerging health challenges as diabetes, as well
A Namibian, Ms. Gawanas is a legal advocate who has previously served
as her country's first Ombudsman. In informal discussions she noted
that she had first come to Botswana as a political refugee. She
expressed the hope that memorials to Botswana's role as a haven for
those fleeing racial and colonial oppression could be erected as a
reminder of the bonds of friendship and solidarity that had been
forged during the years of struggle.
The President noted that such initiative had been muted. He further
noted that it was indeed "a great pity" that the "White House" which
had once served centre for so many Namibian refugees in Francistown,
including Ms. Gawanas, was no longer standing.
E 5) Additional notices and forwarding from 10-22/7/05:
* 12/7/05: "De Beers sketches sober Canada diamonds outlook".
* 18/7/05: New book on Seretse and Ruth Khama
* 18/7/05: "Supply woes herald good times for diamond miners"
* 18/7/05: Revised OP Press Schedule for 20-29 July
* 21/7/05: Correction to today's OP Press Schedule