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State of the Nation

Address by President Festus Mogae


to the first meeting of the fifth session of the eighth parliament

"Meeting the Global Challenge"

Gaborone

10 November 2003

[Complete version - 93Kb ~ 1 min (24 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]

Introduction

  1. Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and privilege for me to once more come before this August assembly to report on the State of our Nation. This moment is particularly significant in that this will be the last time I shall be carrying out this responsibility before our people next go to the polls. In our democracy, it is the people who ultimately pass judgement on the state of their nation. During the coming year, they will be able to exercise their sovereign power by voting for a new and expanded Parliament.


  2. I would like at the outset to reiterate a point I made last year, which is that, our progress over the past thirty-seven years, could not have taken place in the absence of a general consensus on our national goals. To the Honourable Members on my left as well as those on my right, I therefore once more say, that even as we have opposed one another we have, nonetheless, travelled together in the knowledge of our shared destiny. That which divides us will thus always be less than that which binds us together. Our diversity should, therefore, be appreciated as a source of strength, rather than weakness.


  3. Mr. Speaker, having arrived at this special moment in the life of our democracy, it is incumbent upon me to give a balanced assessment of some of the major challenges we face together, along with the strategies and programmes by which this Government intends to meet them. In so doing, I am mindful of the fact that it shall remain our common destiny to endure and prosper as a relatively small landlocked, state in a much larger globalising world. This, in itself, imposes its own peculiar set of challenges.


  4. Whether we speak of building a more prosperous and equitable society; preserving and enhancing our unity in cultural diversity; or combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic; we must remember that we exist within a wider "Global Village", where success and failure are determined by common benchmarks.


  5. Such a competitive environment demands, that all sectors of our own society, indeed each and every individual, not just Government, must set goals and standards of achievement that are second to none. This is a daunting task, but one that we can achieve within our own Vision 2016 framework, whose ambitious but realisable goals remain the ultimate benchmark for measuring our collective progress.


  6. Over a century ago one observer (Elbert Hubbard) concluded that - "The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone who is doing it." Our own forbears showed similar insight when they affirmed the value of urgency and preparedness through such sayings as "Mosele wa pula o epswa go sale gale".


  7. If timeless voices from more leisurely eras recognised the need for people to act upon changing circumstances, how much more true is their wisdom in the fast paced world in which we find ourselves today? Globalisation requires constant transformation from all segments of our society. In the process, we must move away from overdependence on the state, towards a greater degree of self-reliance, based on proactive private initiative and community participation.


  8. We ought to further accept that, while we may continue to benefit from the advice and assistance of outsiders, in the end we must depend on the efficient mobilization of our own human and material resources.




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