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State of the Nation address: Renewed Responsibility

Mr. Festus G. Mogae, President of the republic of Botswana

Address to the first session of the ninth parliament

Gaborone, 8 November 2004

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  • Mr. Speaker, during the life of this Parliament our country will celebrate its fortieth anniversary of independence and thus enter its fifth decade as a sovereign republic. We shall thus also be but a decade short of 2016, the touchstone year of our Long Term Vision. In human terms forty years is often a time for re-commitment. This is a quality that will clearly be required over the next five years if we are to realise the ambitious medium term goals of our Ninth National Development Plan, as well as our Long Term Vision.
  • The theme of recommitment is of course, also especially appropriate on this the day when the political leadership here represented have personally taken their individual oaths of service to the nation. Let us all therefore leave this hall today knowing that we are at the beginning of a difficult task to turn the great challenges which face us into greater opportunities for our children. This will require renewed partnership among all Batswana, but most especially on the part of the political leadership here assembled.
  • In accordance with our Constitution it shall be my own task, as President, to continue to exercise executive authority over the next three and half years. By the end of March 2008 I shall have to hand over the baton to another in whom I have the utmost confidence, having completed my own constitutionally stipulated maximum term of ten years in Office. This is a good provision, which should not be altered. The smooth transfer of executive authority from one President to the next is now entrenched as a hallmark of our democratic stability.
  • As I noted earlier this year at the SADC meeting in Mauritius, I am now a mature man in a hurry! But, I am also equally confident about this Government’s continuing capacity to bring about change for the better, while preserving that which is best.
  • It has been said that different people react differently to the prospect of change. To the naturally fearful it can seem threatening, opening up the prospect that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is equally encouraging because things may improve. But, to the truly confident change is a challenge to make things better. Let us here gathered therefore reciprocate the confidence that our electorate have so recently expressed in us by not shirking our responsibility to build a better Botswana.
  • Finally, as we face the challenges ahead let us, whatever the nature of our personal faith in a higher authority, also seek the blessings and guidance of the Lord in all of our endeavours. With these words let me conclude by requesting all those listening to me to also read the speech I made on the eve of elections day.

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