Former President Sir Ketumile Masire has urged Batswana to be self reliant and embrace the spirit of self-help if the country is to attain the desired levels of development. Masire delivered the speech recently at BIUST where he was asked to speak about “the journey of Botswana, where we come from; where we are, who we are, and where are we heading”.
“If we are to attain the levels of development that we aspire to, we also need to resuscitate our national principle of selfÔÇôreliance. Like many elders, I am concerned that we seem to be losing our grip on the time tested spirit of selfÔÇôreliance.
Whilst I am aware that many of our fellow citizens were born when our fortunes had enormously improved, I need to remind the nation that it was only through the spirit of selfÔÇôhelp and hard work, which our poverty stricken country survived the worst phases of its existence.”
He explained that the role of government should be to empower its citizens, to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive world, not to protect them from it.
In his carefully crafted speech, Masire also urged for a fair and equitable distribution of resources, rather than just those few who by a chance of birth-place or geography find themselves sitting on a particular deposit. “Another misconception, albeit one with an element of truth, is that our success can be simply ascribed to our mineral wealth. While our progress over the past five decades has, heretofore, indeed been largely financed by the exploitation of minerals, more especially diamonds, this alone certainly did not get us to where we are today,” said Masire.