Monday, September 8, 2008

Remarks by H.H. The Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, MP, at the launch of Vision 2016 awareness month at Ramokgonami Village

source: Republic of Botswana (7/9/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 26 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"



1. Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for the invitation extended to me to come and launch the Vision 2016 Awareness Month today in this beautiful village of Ramokgonami.

2. Coming to Ramokgonami offers me a good opportunity to thank the people of Tswapong South for the overwhelming support given to His Excellency the President, myself and the new Government, since we assumed office on April 1, 2008. Needless to say that your abiding support over the years has been a source of our strength and it will no doubt continue to inspire us to do our very best to serve you and the nation at large.

3. Allow me, Director of Ceremonies, to thank the Central District and through them, the Mahalapye Sub District for co-hosting this important event.

4. Bagaetsho, Vision 2016 is a national vision - it is your vision! That is why I would like to applaud the Vision Council for the initiative of bringing this launch to villages where most of our people, the owners of the Vision, reside.

5. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the third year in succession that the Vision 2016 Awareness Month has been launched in a village. In 2006 it was held in Sehithwa while in 2007 it was hosted by Khakhiya. It is no mistake that the Vision Council continues to commemorate this awareness month in rural areas. This is a deliberate effort to promote and generate sustained ownership of Vision 2016 by all Batswana, including and especially those resident in rural areas.

6. I must say that this month is an important month for all of us. It is a month for national introspection in which the whole nation has to assess the progress we are making towards achieving the nation's aspirations of prosperity for all by the year 2016.

7. I am informed that we are now on the 2nd phase of the promotion of Vision 2016 among Batswana and that this phase now focuses on encouraging ownership of the vision by the nation. The first phase was dedicated to promoting general awareness about the existence of Vision 2016 among Batswana. That phase was successfully concluded and this was confirmed by the results of a survey undertaken by the Vision Council in 2005 which revealed that 80% of the nation is aware of the existence of the vision.

8. Let me point out that mere awareness about the existence of the vision alone is not enough. What is paramount is the role you play as citizens of this country in ensuring the realization of the goals and aspirations of Vision 2016. Perhaps you may want to ask yourselves about what it is you have done or are doing to demonstrate that this vision is your vision.

9. Bagaetsho, for its part, the new administration of His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Khama, of which I am part, is very clear and unequivocal on the role it has to play in national efforts to make Vision 2016 a reality.

10. The President has already laid out a clear framework to guide him and the entire nation in the implementation of programmes that will make us realize the goals and aspirations of the Vision. This framework is premised on the principles of Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline. These principles which are already embedded in our Vision 2016 blueprint will continue to guide our strategic thinking, policy formulation and implementation.

11. Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the theme for this year's launch; "Turning Challenges into Opportunities: The Journey Continues," is a very sound and relevant one. For every challenge there is surely an opportunity. What is important is how we, as a nation, work together to overcome the challenges and exploit the attendant opportunities.

12. The Government has taken deliberate steps to ensure that Vision 2016 becomes part and parcel of national development plans and strategies. Efforts are also continuing to urge other stakeholders such as the private sector and civil society to align their strategic plans to Vision 2016. This multi-stakeholder approach is expected to facilitate accelerated implementation of national development programmes and projects so that Botswana realizes sustainable economic growth and diversification, employment creation and poverty alleviation.

13. Director of Ceremonies, Bagaetsho, when we gather at events such as this one it is very important to remind ourselves of the purposes and the pillars of our Vision. Our Vision envisages that Botswana will be An Educated and Informed Nation by 2016.

14. As a Government we are fully aware that an educated nation is a very important building bloc for national prosperity. For that reason we have decided to establish an Education Hub to coordinate the Government efforts in the development and improvement of our education system. Through the Hub, the Government aims to pursue excellence and quality education by establishing educational and training institutions that are comparable to the best in the world.

15. For instance, not far from here, in Palapye to be more precise, plans are at an advanced stage to construct the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

16. Furthermore the Vision Council is closely collaborating with the Department of Curriculum Development with a view to mainstreaming the goals and aspirations of Vision 2016 into the curriculum of our schools. For without an educated and informed nation, you will agree with me that prosperity would remain a distant mirage.

17. Ladies and Gentlemen, it must be understood that our schools alone cannot fully meet the learning needs of our children. Cooperation and partnership between parents and teachers are vital ingredients for better results and education standards. They are also indispensable if we are to ensure discipline among our kids and produce educated and informed citizens capable of playing a meaningful role in the development of this country. I therefore urge all parents to share responsibility with teachers in the education of their children.

18. Having said that let me say that the Government is fully aware that availability of facilities remains a challenge. That is why we have undertaken to continue to build more primary schools and five more new senior secondary schools at Good Hope, Mmadinare, Shakawe, Nata and Mogoditshane.

19. We also recognise that quality is as important as access because at the core of Vision of 2016 lies an undertaking to improve the quality of our education.

20. Ladies and Gentlemen, as prosperous, productive and innovative nation, is another pillar of our national vision. Here we would like to have a society driven by the pursuit of excellence and distinguished by a new culture of hard work, creativity and discipline, where effort is rewarded with recognition. As I was viewing your stalls, I was impressed by the number and quality of exhibits from the area. These projects demonstrate your commitment, not only to improving your lives but also your eagerness to lift standards in your country and contribute to its prosperity. This is commendable. In this you should rest assured of Government full support.

21. As you may know the Government has come up with empowerment schemes such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to help Batswana to participate meaningfully in subsistence and commercial enterprises that address the nagging problems of unemployment and poverty. I urge all of you to take advantage of these programmes to better your lives

22. Bagaetsho, we are also saying we want to be A Moral and Tolerant Nation By 2016. We can achieve this if we all make a deliberate effort to eradicate negative social attitudes towards women, the youth, the elderly and the disabled, and free them from all forms of discrimination and abuse. No citizens or residents of Botswana should be disadvantaged as a result of their gender, age, religion or creed, colour, national or ethnic origin, location, language or on the basis of their political opinions.

23. The Botswana that we all aspire for should be inhabited by people who are law-abiding, respectful and possess high moral and ethical standards.

24. As Government, we are concerned at the moral decay in our society. That is why His Excellency the President saw it fit to commission a Social Values Committee made up of members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and church leaders. This Committee has been touring the length and breadth of this country to look into, among others, the root causes of the moral decay afflicting our society and to recommend to Government measures necessary to promote good behaviour, discipline and commitment to positive social values.

25. Director of Ceremonies, I would like to challenge all communities across this country to re-dedicate themselves to the vision by developing their own action programmes to define their specific contribution to the nation's efforts to realize its goals and aspirations. In this light I would like to congratulate the people of Jacklas No. 1 and Mabutsane sub-district for the proactive role taken in designing Vision compliant action plans for their respective regions.

26. Let me conclude by reiterating that Vision 2016 is for all of us. >From these majestic hills of Tswapong, to the undulating sand dunes of Bokspits, from Ramatlabama to Ramokgwebana, from Kobojango to Mmamuno, from Tlokweng to Kazungula, from Ramotswa to Seronga, and many other places, we should all rally around this vision to make it a reality that it should be. We owe it to posterity!

27. It is now my pleasure to officially launch the 2008 Vision 2016 Awareness Month. PULA!

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