Gaborone — President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has encouraged Batswana to strive for even more self-reliance and to build further on the county's developments.
In his Golden Jubilee Independence Day message on September 30, President Khama also encouraged Batswana to "remain at peace with ourselves and with our neighbours for everlasting stability."
As citizens of a great nation, with the potential for still greater achievements, he said Batswana should embrace each other and their opportunities "as we proceed along the path to our centenary."
The government of Botswana, he said would continue to invest in the dignity and prosperity of its citizens so that each one could sparkle like Botswana diamonds, whilst ensuring continued conservation of the country's environment and natural resources.
Going forward, he said "we must continue to entrench democracy and good governance and continue to add our voice with others in the International Community where there is lack thereof, and continue to practice zero tolerance of corruption and self-interest."
"Where we may have had shortcomings we take the blame, where we have succeeded we thank God for His guidance and blessings and with His guidance we hope to succeed going into the future," he added.
Given Botswana's subsequent progress, he said "many may not be aware of just how daunting the economic, political and social challenges our people faced back then were like."
At that time, President Khama said Botswana was listed as one of the world's 10 least developed countries, lacking in basic infrastructure and tangible wealth. The country's illiteracy, he said was also widespread, "while less than 70 people in the territory then possessed any form of post secondary school qualification."
"But, by focusing on our visible poverty, what most outsiders failed to see was our hidden wealth in our character and determination as a people. Beyond the largely untapped potential of our natural resources, our society was already rich in its values of democracy and self-help. Our geographical and political, as well as economic vulnerability was mitigated by the strength of our time-tested capacity for mutual support," he said.
Meanwhile, President Khama paid tribute to the founding patriots who started Botswana's journey towards achieving a "United and Proud Nation."
Exactly 50 years ago, on September 30, 1966, he said men and women of Botswana demonstrated exceptional courage and foresight when they established Botswana as a sovereign Republic.
"Where others saw hopelessness, those patriotic pioneers were empowered by hope and wisdom. Above all they had faith in themselves and their fellow citizens," he said.
"As we celebrate our progress over the past 50 years, let us further contemplate what we can and should achieve if we continue to work together in the next 50 years, while building a society that delivers a dignified life for all," he added.
Looking at how far Botswana have come from, the time when then country relatively had little, President Khama said this should inspire all citizens to achieve much more with what the country has, now.
"While we have come a long way over the years in achieving higher middle income status, with dramatically reduced poverty and greater social wellbeing, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels," he cautioned.
Botswana's Golden Jubilee Independence, he said was being celebrated, because forebears proved willing and able to overcome challenges of the past, through persistence and hard work.
"If we too are to leave a better Botswana in our wake, we, like them, must also be prepared to do much more with less," he said.
Source : BOPA