Sunday, November 16, 2008

H.H. Lt. General Mompati S. Merafhe, Vice President of the Republic of Botswana at the Official Opening of the Mabutsane Sub-District Fair

source: Republic of Botswana (16/11/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 37 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]...Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Bagaetsho ke a lo dumedisa. Today we are gathered here, over two hundred kilometres from the capital city, to bear witness first hand how the Mabutsane Sub-District is gearing itself to be part of that national effort to make Vision 2016 a reality that it should be. This is the spirit that we need as a people if we are to be A Productive, Prosperous and Innovative Nation by 2016. I am therefore delighted to be in your midst today.

2. Director of ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I note with utmost sense of appreciation that the Pillar 2 & 3 Project is an initiative of the Mabutsane public officers to contribute in a special way to the communities they are employed to serve. It was started in June 2006 and covers 17 villages and settlements in the Sub-District.

3. The founders of this Project specifically and deliberately chose
Pillar 2, which says Botswana will be A Prosperous, Productive and Innovative Nation, and pillar 3 through which we aim to be A Compassionate, Just and Caring Society. Through this Project the aim to advance minor but significant developments in the Sub-District as well as prepare and train local communities to effectively undertake their own village and community developments. The objectives of the Project are to:

* resuscitate the spirit of self-reliance and promote people-cantered community development through minor development projects;
* close the gap between the community and public officers by taking extension officers into effective community development;
* promote and actualize the principle of productivity in the Sub-District within the public sector and communities as well as motivating Visionary Leadership for High Workforce Performance;
* promote oneness of purpose within the Sub District's communities;
* help the poor in the community;
* reduce community dependence on government handouts and empower people to trust their ability to provide for themselves in a sustainable way;
* promote entrepreneurship within the community;
* promote ownership of the national vision by the communities;

4. Bagaetsho! No one can doubt the critical importance of these objectives to our national development efforts let alone the Vision 2016 aspirations.

5. We have to commend these public officers for having deemed it necessary to embark on such a noble undertaking. With these well thought out objectives the chances of success in this project are very high. Let us give them applause please!

6. It is now up to you, the communities in this Sub-District, to summon your energies and determination to make sure that this Project is sustainable in the long term, to 2016 and beyond.

7. Bagaetsho, the choice of pillars 2 and 3 could not have been more relevant. Although all the Vision pillars are important, you will agree with me that in order for this country to achieve the prosperity that we are all yearning for, we have to ratchet the level of productivity; innovativeness and indeed compassion in our society.

8. But most fundamentally, we have to resuscitate that spirit of self-reliance that fuelled our development efforts in the early years of our independence. We should be worried if this cardinal principle of our national development is gradually drowned by a rising tide of over-dependence on the Government.

9. I am heartened however, that we are assembled here today in this beautiful village of Maokane to witness a renaissance of spirit led by public officers and embraced by the community. This needs to be encouraged.

10. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is no wonder that this year your Project won a Special Award in recognition of your outstanding work and commitment to the implementation of Vision 2016, in particular pillars 2 & 3.

11. The Moral and Tolerant Nation Award was given to an officer from the Mabutsane Sub-District whose commitment to develop children through sports was viewed to be very much in line with the aspirations of Vision 2016. There is no doubt that these twin Vision awards are a clear demonstration of the Mabutsane Sub-District's commitment to the implementation of Vision 2016 and your aspiration to make Botswana a better place to live in.

12. As a matter of fact I am thrilled to learn that so far in 2006 and 2007 this initiative purchased and donated 170 chairs to all dikgotla in the Sub-District through contributions by public officers. And not only that - approximately 300 people have been given clothes, bedding and other household items under Operation be Compassionate.

13. True to your Sub-District Vision of Centre of Excellence in Quality Service Delivery for Community Development, your Sub-District performed outstandingly in the 2008 Drought Relief Labour Intensive Public Works Programme and was the first to finish its projects before every other district in Botswana, beating implementation deadline by two months. You should be proud of your work because what you are doing is a true epitome of productivity, compassion and self-reliance that we so much aspire for. I commend you for that and urge you to please keep it up!

14. To those stakeholders such as Shell Oil Botswana whose benevolent hand has been visible in this enterprise I extend my appreciation and encouragement to them to continue this partnership with the community. This act of corporate social responsibility must be an integral part of the operations of any profit-making organization. To other districts in Botswana, I say: Mabutsane Sub-District has shown us the way, we cannot but only follow.

15. Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by this timeless counsel from the late American President John F. Kennedy: "And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

16. This statement remains valid and relevant yesterday, today and tomorrow. Indeed it is as equally relevant in America as it is in this beautiful land of ours. I trust that we will continue to work hard; commit ourselves to the ideals of Vision 2016; be disciplined and positive about the future of our motherland. In whatever we do let us always remember that the spirit and principle of self-reliance is fundamental to our prosperity. Pula!

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