Gaborone — President Lt General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama says the Presidential Housing Appeal will change its name to National Housing Appeal effective April 1 when he steps down.
The aims of the President's Housing Appeal include, amongst others; to close the gap between the haves and have-nots by providing shelter for the less privileged members of the community.
The initiative has achieved so much, with over 800 houses built to date across the country.
In his farewell message to Gaborone North residents at Broadhurst on March 1, President Khama explained that even after stepping down from the presidency in April 1, the housing appeal would continue.
President Khama appreciated Batswana for upholding the history and culture of giving and assisting the less fortunate members of the society.
He appealed to Batswana to rally behind Vice President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, who would be taking the baton of presidency in April, so that he could continue with government initiatives to serve Batswana in various aspects of their life.
On other issues, President Khama promised artists that he would continue to support them even after stepping down from the presidency, saying the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Mr Thapelo Olopeng had appointed him as the Patron of Arts and Culture in Botswana.
He explained that he was leaving the presidency a happy man because he managed to improve the lives of those in the arts sector through the presidential arts competitions, which form part of the President's holidays.
In the same meeting, Mr Tshepiso 'KAST' Molapisi, who was representing artists, appealed to the President to help them raise funds in order to establish an art council through a 2 000 kilometre sponsored walk that they aim to undertake this year.
President Khama thanked Batswana for preserving their culture, adding that there was no other country in Africa that could be compared to Botswana in terms of preserving culture.
He said the launch of the Youth Channel on Botswana Television by Minister Olopeng yesterday was yet another welcome development in boosting the film industry and performing arts in order to assist youth to improve their standard of living and fight unemployment.
President Khama also informed residents of Broadhurst that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development would provide an official vehicle to be used by the kgosi and tribal staff at the newly built kgotla offices in their area.
This was after Court President, Mr Graham Hambira had requested the President to provide them with an official vehicle, adding that in most cases, the staff used their own private vehicles for official duties.
However, he applauded government for having built them kgotla offices under the Economic Stimulus Programme, saying such had addressed the problem of office accommodation.
Meanwhile, the MP for Gaborone North, Mr Haskins Nkaigwa showered President Khama with accolades for coming up with initiatives to improve the lives of Batswana.
The initiatives include the Presidential Housing Appeal, Constituency Tournament, Arts Competitions, construction of kgotla offices in Broadhurst and construction of the Glen Valley/ Phakalane access road aimed at easing traffic congestion.
However, Mr Nkaigwa complained about the bad smell from the Glen Valley sewerage ponds, lack of drinking water and tarred roads in some of the residents in his constituency.
In response, President Khama expressed optimism that all the problems would be addressed through the Gaborone Master Plan, which would be implemented in the future.
President Khama also took the opportunity to inform the residents that the newly elected South African President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, was expected to visit Botswana tomorrow.
As usual, the President was showered with presents that included a conditioned tent, a floating trophy, a traditional chair, a rabbit, a chicken and cash amounting to P7 510. President Khama appreciated the gifts.
Source : BOPA