Republic of Botswana (10/3/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 6 of 2009 The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President “Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline”
C5) 6/3/09: Press Statement in Response to media reports on the Executive Caravan:
In recent days a number of reports have appeared in the press with respect to the purchase of the Executive Caravan for His Excellency the President.
In as much as this Office respects the role of the press in providing a platform for comment and debate on this, as well as all other items of public expenditure, we likewise recognise our own responsibility to respond to some of the issues that have arisen about the purchase.
In particular, one Member of Parliament has been quoted in the press (e.g. Mmegi 26/2/09) as wondering who authorized the purchase of the caravan, further alleging that Office of the President had only made the request for an installment of payments after it had already made a decision to buy the vehicle.
To set the record straight, the Executive Caravan was, in fact, included in last year’s budgetary submission, which was publicly present to Parliament (i.e. the 2008-09 Committee of Supply Speech). In this respect we further wish to note that the suggestion that there has been an installment of payments is incorrect, it is a one off payment.
Contrary to the suggestion that the Executive Caravan is an extravagance, this Office would once more observe that its purpose is to provide accommodation for His Excellency the President when he is travelling around the country. In this respect it will serve as a substitute for hotels, while making up for absence of appropriate accommodation in many communities. In such ways, the caravan will result in cost savings.
The caravan will also allow for greater flexibility in His Excellency the President movements, affording him the opportunity of greater engagement with people living in rural and remote areas.
We would also wish to note that, contrary to what has been suggested in some quarters, the Functions, Pay and Privileges for the President are a matter of record before Parliament.
Given the above, this Office feels justified in reiterating last week’s comment by the Acting Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration that the feigning of ignorance about Executive Caravan by some Members of Parliament is indeed surprising.
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