Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reply to Monitor Headline and Editorial – “Where is the President?”

source: Republic of Botswana (9/5/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 13 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C8) 28/4/09: Reply to Monitor Headline and Editorial – “Where is the President?”

Both in its front page headline and editorial, yesterday’s edition of Mmegi Monitor (27/4/09) pointedly asks “Where is the President”, in reference to the Ministry of Education’s recently announced guideline for tertiary student sponsorship.

This is the case despite the newspaper’s acknowledgement that H.E. the President has asked H.H. the Vice President along with the Ministers of Education and Skills Development and Finance and Development Planning to “address the nation about recent developments”. We therefore find it surprising that Mmegi Monitor chose to run such a questioning headline when they in fact already have the answer.

At the risk of stating the obvious, we would observe that the President appoints Cabinet to represent him in carrying out the Executive function in different Ministries. Members of Cabinet are, moreover, collectively responsible for all government policy, programmes and initiatives. When pronouncing on any official matter, all members of Cabinet thus do so by the powers and authorities vested in them by the President.

In light of the current economic challenges facing the nation, H.E. the President thus deputised the abovementioned three Cabinet members, to brief the nation on how Government plans to tackle the said problems. As this Office has already communicated this briefing comes about in the context of recent announcements of cutbacks in Government spending, necessitated by the ongoing global economic situation and its negative impact on our country.

Given their portfolio responsibilities, the three Cabinet members are clearly qualified to address the nation on the identified matter. H.H. the Vice President is, among other things, responsible for overseeing government project implementation, while the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has recently had to instruct all Ministries to cut back on their budgets. Given that the potential effects of the cutback with regards Ministry of Education is of special concern, the inclusion of Education Minister is likewise in the logic of circumstance.

This Office therefore takes exception to Monitor’s wild allegation that: “We are of the view that in not addressing the nation, Khama confirms that he has no time for education. We believe that he does not see the need for young people to go to school”.

The fact that Education continues to receive the largest share of government spending is reflective of the value that His Excellency and his administration attach to the need to educate our young people.

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