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Batswana are winners
November 3, 2004
03 November, 2004

GABORONE - Political parties which took part in this year's general election have enriched the country's democracy.

They sharpened the contest and enhanced public debates on national issues.

They have also enabled the electorate to make informed choices.

These commendations were echoed by President Festus Mogae at his inauguration held at the National Assembly buildings yesterday.

"The race for political office is over, said Mogae, adding; " voters have done their job. The people have spoken. But we are not gathered here to celebrate the victory of a political party," the President told the audience.

The audience was made up of new and former MPs, heads of diplomatic missions, members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi (all of whom were accompanied by their spouses), and members of the public.

Mogae further congratulated elected MPs and councillors, saying he looked forward to working collaboratively with them in the service of the nation.

"I urge you to be cognisant of the fact that there are no losers or the vanquished in these elections. The people are the winners and the elected representatives should have come out of the process having gained some wisdom from the dissenting voices," said Mogae.

On the ceremony itself, President Mogae said he approached the 68-word Presidential Oath with seriousness, saying he reaffirmed the determination to devote his time, energy and "best endeavours to improving the living standards of all the people of Botswana".

Batswana are winners Mogae further said the renewal of a mandate and the inauguration of the president of the republic was a reminder of the responsibilities "we have towards the people of Botswana.

Together we have a contract and common purpose to eradicate poverty, create employment and combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS," Mogae said, adding that the situation demanded urgent action and that the needs were compelling.

Turning to development issues, President Mogae said NDP9 outlined policies and programmes aimed at enhancing economic diversification and sustainable development.

He said the development plan was scheduled to undergo a major mid-term review next year to sharpen its thrust and better respond to emerging challenges.

"My government will focus greater efforts on timeous and efficient project implementation, service delivery and customer satisfaction," he said.

President Mogae, who was taking the Presidential Oath for the second time since taking the Botswana's highest office in March 1998, advised the newly elected legislators to be open minded and have the courage to listen to sound advice at home and abroad.

He also advised them to review policies, where necessary, and formulate new ones and implement programmes and projects with vigour.

At the continental level, Mogae said the country looked forward to the realisation of the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), adding that his government was convinced that the organisation embodied the "hopes and aspirations of our peoples for a more peaceful, democratic and economically prosperous Africa".

President Mogae thanked the international community for their dependable friendship, solidarity and co-operation over the years.

"It is often said that in Africa, it takes a village to bring up a child. It certainly took a global village over the past 38 years to bring up a least developed country which until 1980, was completely surrounded by racist and oppressive minority regimes," Mogae said referring to Botswana which is now confident about its future and is at peace with itself and neighbours.

Thanking Batswana for the trust and confidence they have reposed in him, Mogae said citizens who retired from active politics at the end of the eighth Parliament made invaluable contributions to the service of the nation and fellow compatriots.

"Their record of service to the public shall remain an inspiration to those who have taken over the (political) batons," the president said.


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