Allow me from the onset to congratulate you Mr. Chairman and your deputy for your electoral victory yesterday. I could not help but feel some jealousy at how easily and swiftly you won with little effort and I dare say expenditure by way of posters, rallies choirs, etc. Well done to you and Honourable Members for a truly, Botswana style election! Free, fair and democratic. Let me also on behalf of Government tender apologies for your somewhat delayed start of this House. Following your own elections which were held after ours, the Leadership was seized with the appointment of the 5 additional members. Barona, this took longer than expected, I congratulate all of you for being elected, nominated or being members of this honour. I cannot let this opportunity pass by without expressing my appreciation for the congratulatory messages that were conveyed to me upon my appointment as the 8th Vice President of the Republic of Botswana. I am deeply gratified and moved by the confidence expressed by His Excellency the President along with Honourable Members of Parliament in electing me to this position. I thank you all for your kindness. Please rest assured of my unequivocal and unwavering support as I execute my duty and mandate as the leader of this House My doors are always open for you at the office or my place of residence.
Director of Ceremonies, it is a great pleasure to address the orientation workshop for Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi. I am here to bring to all the newly elected Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi as well as those nominated by His Excellency the President of Botswana greetings and good wishes form H.E and his Cabinet.
Director of Ceremonies, the gathering of such a group of eminent men and women is one that should be met with great jubilation and triumph, triumph in that it is an occasion of great national pride. It marks a great step in the continued evolution of our culture and traditional values that give worth and dignity to the value of the national spirit. It is on a day such as this that we renew our dedication to continue efforts to build our nation.
Honourable Members, It is my understanding that you will gain critical knowledge in the areas of Procedure” which are contained in the Rules and Regulations governing the conduct of the Proceedings of the House as well as the Role and Responsibilities of Ntlo ya Dikgosi. This orientation workshop will address the Report of the Joint Advisory Committee of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Botswana Council of Churches on Social Values and the Government White Paper on the National Strategy for the promotion of good Social Values. You will also be taken through of your conditions of service.
I therefore encourage you to examine the recommendations of the Social Values Report with a view to assist Government to actively curb the existing and growing social ills.
Great strides have been made in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The use of ICT has resulted in noticeable improvements in our livelihoods as well as in our everyday way of life. As a traditional institution discovering and embracing ICT as a culture, it is my hope that you will be empowered to perform your duties even better than you used to. The deliberations for this week will present valuable information for the enrichment of your performance.
Director of Ceremonies; Ntlo ya Dikgosi remains a very important institution as enshrined in the Constitution of Botswana. We note with pride that when the Constitution of this country was drafted, the composition of the Drafting Committee included Dikgosi. The deliberate inclusion of Dikgosi in governance of this country, to participate as an Advisory Body to Parliament is a clear indication that the voice of Dikgosi remains pertinent in stimulating interest in and promoting cultural expression and unity. The governance of this country as such anchors on the vision of this nation’s founding forefathers.
Honourable Members; your role as Members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi is to advise the National Assembly on Bills which if enacted would affect the organization, or any matters that are cultural. The Constitution of Botswana further gives Ntlo ya Dikgosi powers to discuss any matter within the Executive or the Legislative Authority of Botswana which it considers desirable to take cognizance of the interest of the tribes it represents, and to make representation to His Excellency the President, or to send messages to the National Assembly as envisaged under Section 85 (5) of the Constitution of Botswana. Therefore any questions discussed in the House should be relevant to the functions and mandate as articulated in the Constitution of Botswana.
Director of Ceremonies, understanding this advisory role is important to ensure that in any sitting of the House, you confine your activities to those which you have been entrusted by law to perform. There is and should be a distinction between the role performed by Ntlo ya Dikgosi and that which is performed by Parliament this distinction and role clarity should be appreciated and emphasized. I have observed that in the past the lines of duty seem to be getting blurred, let us elevate the quality of our leadership by showing greater understanding. It is my hope and expectation that this workshop will ensure that Members of the House fully appreciate the significance of their role. However, one must remind yet again that this partnerships is embedded in our deep appreciation of inter dependence that we live by as well as the cultured reciprocity.
We are here as custodians of our culture and hope for the future. The strength of our traditional values in remaining relevant to present day Botswana has seen some tribes rekindling their cultural norms, we see such activities as mephato, bogwera and bojale ,dikgafela and the writing and singing of traditional songs being revived. We see the very concept of the Kgotla with its norms and morals being put to the test and scrutiny. This is commendable, as Government we are elated that Dikgosi are preserving and indeed growing our culture. The role of Ntlo ya Dikgosi is to ensure that the pleasure derived from the practice of one’s culture is not just a privilege for the few but that it is a guarantee of the freedom of expression of a united and proud nation as exposed by our National Long Term Vision 2016.
The Setswana adage “a kgotla a mantle otlhe” leaves me gratified when explaining its meaning during debates in the Honourable House. There will be many instances where Honourable Ministers are invited to share , answer or attempt to answer policies which are relevant to their line Ministries, in such instances it is my desire that you will debate issues with the humility, respect, character and botho for which the institution of Bogosi is known. May I call to your attention that while our Kgotla system embraces the spirit of, “mmualebe o a bo a bua la gagwe,” let me advice that Ntlo Ya Dikgosi should not be used as a platform to unduly attack the Members of the Executive, each other and other Stakeholders who interact with us from time to time. Nor should it be used to launch any, deliberate or not deliberate hidden political agenda.
Honourable Members; the honour of leadership carries responsibilities with it. You are here because you have been chosen as the person most able and most preferred to give effective leadership. As the Leader of the House I am sure I can rely on your unwavering support to offer you direction that is untainted by personal prejudice as well as oversight supervision of the implementation of your activities within the confines of the budget allotted to the House.
May I express to the Chairperson my grateful thanks for her invitation to address this distinguished body and to each of you my gratitude for your courteous attention. May God grant you wisdom, strength of character and mind to serve your people. You may now officially commence your discussions. A Pula e re nele.
*These remarks were made by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the opening of the orientation workshop for Members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi this week.