After being nominated by President Ian Khama, the Minister of Minerals Water and Energy Resources, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe, has been endorsed by elected Members of Parliament as the new Vice President of Botswana.
Kedikilwe took over from Lt. Gen Merafhe after his resignation on July 31, 2012. Merafhe is said to have informed President Ian Khama of his intention to retire on 31st July 2012 and Khama accepted the Vice President’s request.
Casting their votes in Parliament, the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margret Nasha instructed the sergeant officers to lock the Parliament doors for security purposes. She told the house to vote either yes, no or abstain by placing a cross on the ballot paper.
“I expect the voting to be secret and the president should participate together with the 56 members,” said Nasha.
The Speaker further called the members in alphabetical order to cast their votes into the ballot box. She added President Khama’s proposed appointee is Kedikilwe to be endorsed as VP. She later announced the results as abstained were 12, those who voted 0 were none, six while those who voted yes were 38.
“The Member of Parliament for Mmadinare Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe has been accordingly endorsed as the Vice President of Botswana,” said the Speaker.
Kedikilwe is currently the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR), a post he has held since January 2007. He is also expected to complete major projects in his Ministry before handing over to the new Minister who is not yet appointed to the position. His Ministry oversees the country’s Energy, Water and Mineral sectors. The mineral sector contributes about a third to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 47 percent to Government revenue and over 70 percent to foreign earnings.
Dr Kedikilwe has a Masters Degree in Development Economics and Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University in New York.
He has also served in various government ministries as a senior civil servant. Furthermore, he has served in the country’s executive as Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Commerce and Industry, Finance and Development Planning and Education.
Kedikilwe has also served in various key parastatal and private organizations in Botswana and chaired the famous Presidential Commission on Education in 1992.
In 1992 he was awarded a Presidential Order of Honour and received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Botswana in 2007. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1984.