Mokgweetsi Masisi is Botswana’s new president after he was inaugurated on Sunday in the country’s capital, Gaborone.
Masisi is the southern African nation’s fifth leader and takes over from former president Seretse Khama Ian Khama following the expiry of his two five-year terms on March 31.
Botswana law, which was reviewed in 1998, restricts the president to serving two five-year terms and provides for the vice president to automatically fill the post should it become vacant.
Masisi laid out his vision for Botswana, paying tribute to the country’s immediate past president as a “great source of inspiration to all of us.”
Masisi promised to build upon the contributions made by the previous presidents which he described as a collective legacy of over a half century of uninterrupted peace and progress.
He said there is still need to build a Botswana in which sustained development is underpinned by economic diversification.
“Just like my predecessors, I stand to acknowledge that we are not yet where we wish to be as a nation,” said Masisi.
He added: “We shall not be satisfied until we have eradicated poverty and social exclusion in order to build a society that provides opportunity and dignity for all.”
According to Masisi, the current and former leadership of Botswana are committed to a modern Botswana that is not only open but able to openly compete with the rest of the world while maintaining its founding principles that have united this nation through difficult times.
Masisi will have his hands full with reducing the economy’s dependence on diamonds, creating jobs for the almost one in five workers who are unemployed and wooing more foreign investment.
In an interview with Xinhua when approached for a comment on Masisi’s attitude towards China on Sunday, Jeff Ramsay, the government spokesperson, said, “He (Masisi) will (definitely) build on our friendship and cooperation with China.”
According to Ramsay, the government of Botswana “cherishes the friendship and cooperation existing between ourselves and the People’s Republic of China.” He added that China is an “all-weather” friend to Botswana.