Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Vice President of the Rebublic of Botswana, at the Independent Order of True Templars - Northern Grand Temple, 105th Annual Grand Session, UB

source: Republic of Botswana (16/12/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 41 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutation]...Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Allow me to thank you for inviting me to join you this morning
at this 105th Annual Grand Session of the Northern Grand Temple of the Independent Order of True Templars (IOTT). I do so with a great sense of duty because alcohol and substance abuse are matters of national concern. Therefore, the more the nation is sensitized about these issues the better.

2. Let me declare that it gives me pleasure and assurance to be in
the presence of men and women of character who have dedicated their lives to abstain from all intoxicating substances. I understand this commitment dates as far back as 1875 when the Independent Order of True Templars was first established in Cradock, South Africa.

3. Further to that, the Northern Grand Temple of the Independent
Order of True Templars was first constituted in Botswana in 1977.

4. This 'Grand Organization', if I may call it such, is a faith
based organization with its members affiliated to various Christian churches and denominations. It is most pleasing that even in your diversity you still find unity of purpose for a common vision and commitment to building a sober nation. It is heartening, therefore, that in this day and age when alcohol and substance abuse seem to be a fashionable past time, there are people who have decided to shun the evils associated with the intake of intoxicating substances. I wish to salute this solemn assembly and applaud everyone present here today who has committed to this noble act of abstinence.

5. It is indeed a course for the good of both our current and
future generations.

6. Bagaetsho, we should all be concerned that the abuse of alcohol
and other related substances can destroy individuals' lives and undermine the development we have achieved these past forty two (42) years as a nation. I do not need to remind you of the dangers and ills of intoxicating substances, especially the abuse of alcohol which is more pronounced in this country. As I am addressing people of faith I could not resist the temptation of looking through the Holy Scriptures to measure the extent of the problems caused by alcohol.

7. First, the Book of Proverbs Chapter 20 the first verse says:
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is ragging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise"

8. Proverbs Chapter 23 verses 29 and 30 outline some detrimental
effects of alcohol: "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has babbling? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine."

9. Since you are more familiar with the Holy Bible I suppose you
can immediately think of such individuals in Biblical times whose abuse of alcohol led to affliction and sorrow. Such an individual that comes to mind is Noah in Genesis Chapter 9. The consequences of his actions were a generation of cursed individuals - you know how the Canaanites were wiped out of the face of the earth because Noah cursed his son who
saw him naked due to alcohol.

10. Director of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen, we all know of the
sorrows and suffering that some of our fellow citizens have, just because one of their family members 'tarries at the bottle'. Alcohol has and continues to cause carnage on our roads, resulting in many orphaned children, maimed individuals, loss of income for many families and the spread of HIV and AIDS. Official statistics indicate that in 2006, nine hundred and nine (909) drivers were charged with drunken driving, 775 (seven hundred and seventy five) in 2007 and 930 (nine hundred and
thirty) in 2008.

11. You can also imagine that while we are fighting the scourge of
HIV and AIDS the use of alcohol and related intoxicating substances is on the other hand exacerbating the problem. Researchers have found that heavy alcohol consumption results in decreased compliance with prescribed medication as well as poor response to HIV therapy in general. Over and above that, a person under the influence of alcohol is highly likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour that can lead to the spread of HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

12. For a small population such as ours the effects of alcohol abuse
can be devastating. Therefore I wish to urge all here present and the nation at large to stand up and together fight this enemy. Let us beware that if we do not act now we might never be able to achieve our Vision 2016 goal of prosperity for all.

13. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, My Brothers and Sisters, it
is pleasing to note that the Independent Order of True Templars strives to build a sober nation beyond the year 2016 through information dissemination. Therefore, the theme for this Grand Session "Choosing the best alternative - Choosing to be informed" is most appropriate given that a well informed person is well prepared at all times. And as the saying goes "to be forewarned is to be forearmed'

14. It is a good thing that this solemn gathering will offer an
opportunity to the participants and especially the youth to discuss among themselves the best alternatives that will help enrich their lives. I am confident that at the end of this conference you will have renewed your aspiration to achieve a healthy, sober and prosperous nation by the year 2016. I understand that in pursuit of your vision you have over the years conducted public workshops and seminars in schools, churches le ko makgotleng a Setswana.

15. I must add that your advocacy on the importance of sobriety in
our society is very commendable. The society looks up to you to, not only lead by example in abstaining from alcohol and other related substances, but to harness Christian principles and values to advance the welfare of society in general. It is in matters such as this that we look to our cultural and religious leadership for guidance and inspiration.

16. Director of Ceremonies, let me point out that Government is
doing all it can to address alcohol and related substances abuse as well as other ills besetting our society. That is why in June this year His Excellency the President established a Social Values Committee to holistically explore the causes of moral degeneration and increased indiscipline in our society and to recommend to Government strategies to address these problems. The Committee has recently submitted their recommendations to the President.

17. It will be remiss of me if I do not thank all those who assisted
the Social Values Committee to do its work.

18. Government also took a stand to increase the levy on alcohol to
discourage over indulgence and thus help to curb these problems. Let me assure you that it is not our desire to destabilize the beer industry as some have alleged, but we are against over indulgence which results in the social ills that retard our development efforts.

19. I must admit that alcohol may not be the root cause but a
symptom of social and cultural challenges that our society is experiencing today. It is therefore upon us as parents, families and communities to uphold positive cultural norms and values that have over the years served as a foundation of social stability and discipline. We need to teach our children, who have not as yet been corrupted by the ways of the world, to be people of principle who can be able to resist temptation borne out of peer pressure.

20. Let me conclude by wishing you a Merry Christmas Season, and a
Safe and Prosperous 2009. God Bless You all.

1 comment:

Bantsijang said...

Matthews Bantsijang : First, the Book of Proverbs 20: 1says:
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is ragging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise"