Members of Parliament have been waxing lyrical about President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s achievements despite the challenges he faced during his tenure. The MPs’ glowing tributes to President Khama come after he delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the beginning of the current session of Parliament a week ago. They said Mr Khama, whose current term is drawing to a close, has done remarkably well given the prevailing circumstances.
A look at what MPs are saying of President Khama
Specially elected MP Mr Eric Molale, who is also Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, labelled as false, claims by some that the President was leaving Botswana in a worse state than he found it when he took over the presidency in 2008.
Molale also criticised those who say President Khama had failed to deliver on his ‘5Ds’ – Democracy, Discipline, Dignity and Development and Delivery – noting that while the Ds were not explicitly spelt out in the SONA, the speech was awash with proof that they had been delivered.
He said Botswana’s democracy was even more robust today than it had been before the President took over, highlighting that this was made evident by Botswana’s political stability and lack of violence that has become the norm in other nations.
In terms of development, Minister Molale observed that the President’s speech made reference to a catalogue of developments, both completed and ongoing; something that he said supports the fact that the D on development had been realised.
Mr Molale further said interventions such as the Presidential Housing Appeal and the extension of the Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) to the public helped restore the dignity of those who benefited from it.
Tati East MP, Samson Guma said the most important thing was for President Khama to have briefed the nation on the state of the country’s economy. In the course of doing so, Minister Guma said the President had done well to highlight the issue of corruption, which he described as a cancerous evil that had to be prevented at all costs. Mr Guma noted that it was worrying that even some political leaders are suspected of corrupt practices. The Minister commended President Khama for having not shied away from making decisions during his presidency.
MP Mephato Reatile hailed President Khama for being a compassionate person who had advanced Batswana’s interests even in the most difficult situations. He said when the World Bank highlighted the enormity of Botswana’s wage bill, the President and his government decided against reducing the size of the public service because to do so would have plunged many Batswana into worse financial dire straits.
Mr Reatile decried the late payment of employees by some security companies. He said it is sad that even those contracted by the government can go as long as three months without paying their employees. He thus urged the government to devise strategies through which to address the growing trend.
MP Botlogile Tshireletso of Mahalapye East commended President Khama for having made his detractors eat humble pie by deciding to leave office at the end of his term; contrary to claims by some, in particular, the opposition, that he would cling onto power. Ms Tshireletso, also Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development applauded the President for ensuring that during his term of office, Botswana had its first female Speaker of the National Assembly. She said for it to have happened not once but twice during his tenure is a feat worthy of commendation.
Botswana has had two female Speakers of the National Assembly, namely Margaret Nasha (2009-2014) and Gladys Kokorwe (2017-present) both within President Khama’s reign.
Ms Tshireletso said the President’s track record would remain engrained in the minds of Batswana, as he had traversed the breadth and width of the country interacting with the nation.
She thanked him for initiatives such as the ministers’ phone-in programme, community service days as well as the Presidential Housing Appeal, all of which he introduced.
She also commended the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the ‘Treat All initiative’ through which those who test HIV-positive are enrolled onto Anti-retroviral Therapy regardless of their CD4 count.