I have the honour and privilege of taking this solemn Presidential Oath of Office. In doing so, I am once more humbled by the trust and confidence and great responsibility that has been conferred upon me and my party to once more lead our country forward. We have just emerged from another election that has once more demonstrated our commitment to the democratic processes and values that have sustained our peaceful progress over the past five decades. I must commend the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and all others who ensured that this year’s poll, like all of those that have preceded it, was conducted in a free and fair manner.
1. I have the honour and privilege of taking this solemn Presidential Oath of Office. In doing so, I am once more humbled by the trust and confidence and great responsibility that has been conferred upon me and my party to once more lead our country forward.
2. We have just emerged from another election that has once more demonstrated our commitment to the democratic processes and values that have sustained our peaceful progress over the past five decades.
3. I must commend the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and all others who ensured that this year’s poll, like all of those that have preceded it, was conducted in a free and fair manner.
4. Let me congratulate all those from across the country who were elected to Parliament and the local Councils. But, as we savour our respective victories, let us remain mindful of the fact that the real and urgent work now begins as we come together to move Botswana forward.
5. As political leaders it is our responsibility to provide direction and to lead by example, by putting the nation’s interests first while re-committing ourselves to the values of tolerance, mutual respect and self-discipline.
6. As the custodians of a mature democracy we recognise that elections are the means to a greater end of forming a Government capable of translating the popular will into public delivery. In a few days from now I shall be presenting before the newly elected Parliament a detailed blueprint of how we as the newly elected Government propose to continue along our path toward achieving our ideals for a better Botswana.
7. Today I will therefore confine myself to confirming what shall be our governing priorities as we move Botswana forward. These priorities, which were set out in my party’s election manifesto, shall stand as this administration’s collective performance agreement with the nation. They include: job creation; food security; expanded land and housing ownership; access to quality education; economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty.
8. In carrying out our mandate to deliver on each of these priorities, as well as other programmes, my administration shall also continue to be guided by our roadmap for achieving a better Botswana as signposted by the “5Ds.” This roadmap can be summarised as our pledge to achieve a dignified life for all Batswana through the delivery of sustainable economic development that is driven by a culture of democratic accountability and rooted in a renewed sense of social discipline.
9. In keeping with this pledge, we as Government have all along appreciated the fact that the key to achieving sustainable diversified economic growth and social security lies in the development of our people. We shall, therefore, maintain our focus on the delivery of improved education and training, along with the provision of expanded vocational opportunities through our Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and citizen empowerment initiatives.
10. To further diversify our economy, we shall capitalise on emerging opportunities within the mineral sector, through further beneficiation, as well as in other sectors such as agriculture, tourism and ICT driven services. Our ongoing success in establishing our country as a global hub to market diamond processing should, in this respect, now serve as a beacon of what we can also accomplish in other areas.
11. We further appreciate the fact that our future can never be secure as long as too many of our graduates remain either jobless or underemployed. In moving Botswana forward we shall therefore accelerate our efforts to ensure that the skill development within our education and training institutions is better aligned to our emerging needs. In this we shall remain constant in our goal of developing the requisite skills base to meet the demands of today’s globalised, knowledge based economy.
12. In our efforts towards realising people centred development we shall, moreover, continue to give special priority to youth development and empowerment.
13. In promoting the dignity of all Batswana we have pledged ourselves to the creation of an enabling environment of economic opportunity that leaves no citizen behind. A cornerstone of our efforts to achieve inclusive growth will be our continued nurturing of small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) as vehicles of self-empowerment and catalysts for grassroots development.
14. For those most in need we shall move forward with the Poverty Eradication Programme, where we are already in striking distance of meeting our primary goal of eliminating extreme poverty among able bodied Batswana in 2016.
15. Our commitment to dignity for all is further reflected in our interventions on behalf of those living in Remote Area Communities or having special needs such as people living with disabilities, orphans and those with health conditions, as well as the less fortunate in general.
16. As a Government we continue to recognise that the dignity of our society and quality of our democracy, along with the delivery of sustained development are all dependent on us finding the discipline within ourselves to sacrifice selfish and short term interest for nation building. We must work together to obtain standards of excellence that will enable us to compete with the very best in the world.
17. Let us also continue to recognise that discipline is a prerequisite to overcoming many of our social challenges, be it the spread of HIV, the damage caused by alcohol and substance abuse, the corrosive effects of crime and corruption or the loss of family and community cohesion.
18. In any democracy the rights of individuals and institutions must be counterbalanced with shared civic responsibility and consideration for the rights of others, along with the national interest as a whole.
19. As I have observed on previous occasions, but here wish to reiterate, the generations who preceded us progressed with dignity through much harder times by preserving the collective discipline of their communities. Their example of achieving much with little is a challenge for all of us to find the strength and motivation to achieve much more.
20. Let me here conclude by once more acknowledging the immense responsibility that has once more been entrusted to me. I remain mindful of the fact that while some of us have been chosen on temporary terms to exercise political leadership, it is the citizens who at all times remain as our masters.
21. Finally, as we cross another milestone in our nation’s path of progress let us seek strength in the blessings of the Lord who makes all things possible. I thank you all for your attention. God bless you all. Pula!!!