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
GovernmentвЂ™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.