Tutume — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared election day, October 23 and the following two days paid public holidays.
Making the announcement during a kgotla meeting in Tutume September 13, President Masisi urged residents in the Nkange constituency to go to the polls in large numbers on election day and exercise their constitutionally enshrined rights.
He pointed out that the choices they would make on October 23 had a bearing on the country's future, advising them to reflect on whom they entrusted their votes with.
The President encouraged residents to assess all those canvassing for votes to ensure that the country continued to maintain its democratic credentials.
Dr Masisi applauded Batswana for the respect they showed him during his 18 months as head of state.
In addition, he praised outgoing Nkange constituency MP, Mr Edwin Batshu, for his selfless service to the nation, saying he had a wealth of experience in government and that he would not hesitate to engage him should his services be required post retirement.
Dr Masisi informed residents that government intended to honour two surviving members of the country's first parliament, Messrs Obed Chilume and Phillip Nkhwa.
On human-wildlife conflict, Dr Masisi said government had made the issue a priority, saying he had seen first-hand the destruction caused by wild animals, especially elephants, in the Nkange constituency.
Dr Masisi said government's objective was to create jobs as a way of reducing social ills such as crime.
The local economy, he said, had to be transformed by taking advantage of technological innovations.
"We want this economy to move away from being based on natural resources to the one that is dependent on knowledge," Dr Masisi said.
Technology, Dr Masisi explained, was vital as it could be used to solve some of the societal challenges.
He said technology played a key role in development as evidenced by the fact that the biggest companies in the world today were technology-based.
The local economy, the President asserted, had to adopt technology in order to survive and improve people's livelihoods.
Residents heard that government would facilitate a technology-based economy by creating a ministry of telecommunications.
He said government had been undertaking benchmarking missions in other countries in order to forge partnerships that could contribute towards economic development.
He encouraged residents to utilise culture for economic development, especially by taking advantage of the country's eco-tourism potential.
On agriculture, President Masisi said government was committed to improving the sector's value chain by encouraging local processing of products.
For his part, Kgosi Tapson Madikwe informed the President that the agricultural sector in the constituency had collapsed due to destruction by wild animals.
He requested that a community library be built as a way of boosting the literacy rate. Umbrella VDC chairperson, Mr Isaac Lebengwa applauded government for the construction of Maitengwe Police Station and other infrastructure developments in Tutume.
He however raised a concern about the vandalism of streetlights, noting that since the project started, 48 had been damaged.
On other issues, he decried the water challenges in the constituency, noting that the long promised supply from Ntimbale Dam had not materialised.
Also promised was a 70-bed hospital, which had not been constructed to date, he said.