Gaborone — The late second president of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire has been hailed for playing a pivotal role in the development of Botswana.
Paying national tribute to Sir Ketumile during a memorial service graced by President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama on June 28, at University of Botswana Campus Indoor Sports Centre, Vice President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi, thanked the Masire family for having availed their father, their son to lead the nation.
Sir Ketumile, in his successive capacities as vice president and finance and development planning minister and as President of Botswana, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general and as BDP president, Mr Masisi said he played a critical role as 'an architect and executor of Botswana's development plans.'
He also noted that RaGaone commanded a lot of respect both domestically and internationally, as he assumed leadership roles in the region and internationally, 'thus profiling Botswana in the global arena.'
To cultivate and advance Botswana's friendly relations with the international community, the vice president said the late second president also leveraged on the leadership roles he assumed in the region.
Sir Ketumile's intensive engagement with the international community, Mr Masisi said earned Botswana much needed laurel, which ultimately translated into the much needed development support.
He also underscored the critical role that Sir Ketumile played during the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.
"His sterling efforts in the formation of the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference, a persecutor to SADC, are well documented. His robust participation and total commitment to the front line states concept are legendary as is his infectious, hearty signature laughter," he added.
Furthermore, vice president said together with his colleagues, under the leadership of the late first president of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama, Sir Ketumile "adopted a rational and fungal disposition to development."
"As a nation we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for the development, peace and tranquility that Botswana is renowned for. We owe him for building us a united nation through his lifelong commitment to the Botswana project," he said.
Personally, vice president said he had known Sir Ketumile and his family from a tender age, as he grew up with his children and played with Mpho who was his age mate.
For that reason, he said he was deeply honoured to have been mentored by an accomplished statesman like Sir Ketumile who was always willing to impart his extensive knowledge and experience in politics, farming as well as other development issues.
The service that was meant to give thanks for the life and service of Sir Ketumile was also attended by Sir Ketumile's family and children, former president of Tanzania, Mr Benjamin Mkapa and wife Ms Mkapa, former president of Mozambique, Mr Armando Guebuza, former OAU, secretary general, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim and Mo Ibrahim founder, Dr Mo Ibrahim and other dignitaries.
Sir Ketumile aged 91, died at Bokamoso hospital in Gaborone after a short illness on June 22.
He will be buried in Kanye at Goo-Motebejane ward today (June 29).
Source : BOPA