Friday, May 1, 2009

Lt.Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, at a State Luncheon held in Honour of his Excellency Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

source: Republic of Botswana (27/4/09) TAUTONA TIMES no 12 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


Your Excellency, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwet;...{Salutations}...Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

1. I am delighted to once again welcome to Botswana, His Excellency Mr Jakaya Kikwete, the First Lady Mrs Salma Kikwete, and your entourage.

2. Mr. President, the people of Botswana feel greatly honoured by your visit, and in particular your agreeing to open one of our new hospitals tomorrow. It certainly demonstrates your personal disposition towards Botswana and its people.

3. Your visit will go a long way in consolidating the warm and fraternal relations which subsist between our two countries and peoples.

4. Mr. President, let me pay tribute to your political party, the Party that you ably lead, for its enormous contribution to unity, peace and stability in Tanzania. It is this unity and commitment to people cantered policies that made it possible for Tanzania to play a key and leading role in the struggle for the liberation of Southern Africa. Your Party has been a champion and pioneer of reforms in Africa. You led the way in the introduction of term limitations for Heads of State and Government. Today, Tanzania stands as one of Africa's good examples of plural democracy and good governance. Thanks in part to the wisdom and visionary leadership, and for your own astute leadership in staying the course on those positive attributes.

5. Botswana is certainly proud to be associated with your country, as we uphold the same principles of democracy, good governance and the rule of law. Many countries on the continent have a lot to learn from the example of Tanzania.

6. Mr. President, we also note with satisfaction the efforts which Tanzania is expending to transform her economy. Amongst those positive developments are the extensive economic reforms which are aimed at creating favourable macro-economic conditions for sustainable growth and the promotion of an environment conducive to business investment as well as private sector development. These together with the improvement of fiscal and monetary policies, have put Tanzania on a steady path to economic development.

7. With an average economic growth rate of 6 percent over the last seven years, Tanzania's economy is among the fastest growing in the world. This is certainly a commendable achievement.

8. Mr. President, on the continental front, Botswana commends Tanzania for her tireless efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to Africa's conflict situations. Tanzania has and continues to play a constructive role in this regard.

9. Mr. President, I will be remiss if I fail to recognize and pay homage to you, for your own personal commitment and dedication in this endeavour. To this end, we are reminded of your inspiring and exemplary stewardship during your tenure as the Chairperson of the African Union from 2008 to 2009. Botswana was amongst those who were reluctant to accept the end of your Chairmanship. Your contribution did Africa a lot of good, and for that we are grateful.

10. We however, note with regret that Africa is lapsing into the dark days of coups and unconstitutional changes as was the case in Mauritania; Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar. Africa must remain resolute in rejecting extra-parliamentary transfer of power by isolating the illegal regimes until the constitutional order is restored. In the same regard, we should equally condemn Africa's leaders who continually show a disregard for human rights and the rule of law as is presently the case with Sudan. And by not condoning impunity, we should also have the courage to render such leaders to international justice including the International Criminal Court so that they can answer to the charges against them.

11. Mr President, your visit comes at a time when the global economy is in dire straits. The impact of this crisis has already been felt across the globe. Sadly, the economies of the developing countries which are also the most vulnerable are the worst affected.

12. As we face up to these daunting challenges, it is pleasing to note that, the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) countries, agreed at their recent Summit in London to assist developing countries with financial support as well as to open trade and promote investment. It is important that they honour their commitments.

13. Mr. President, Botswana has over the years benefited from services provided by Tanzanians, especially in the field of Health. Currently, there are 32 Tanzanians employed by our Ministry of Health. Of these, there are medical doctors, nurses, radiographers, to name some. Given the shortage of human resources in this field, these individuals are contributing significantly to the health care services of our country.

14. Tanzania has for a long time offered training opportunities to Botswana nationals. A large number of Batswana have graduated in different disciplines from Tanzanian institutions of higher learning. And they have since come back to contribute to the development of the country.

15. In the area of Defence and Security, Tanzania produced the first batch of Botswana Defence Force female cadets in 2008. And I fondly remember my visit to your country during that auspicious and historic event, which marked the entrance into the ranks of Botswana Defence Force of the first ever Batswana women soldiers.

16. We cannot but express profound gratitude for this generous assistance on the part of your country. Friends like Tanzania are all weather friends. We shall forever be indebted to you for the support and solidarity.

17. On that note Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, May I now ask you to stand and join me in drinking a toast to:

* continued good health and happiness of His Excellency, Mr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and First Lady Mrs Salma Kikwete;
* continued friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the Government and the People of our two countries;
* continued peace and prosperity for the people of the United Republic of Tanzania; and,
* to international peace and security.

18. I thank you for your attention.

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