Several dignitaries have arrived for the memorial and funeral service of former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire. Masire died in a private hospital last week after undergoing surgery.

Masire’s memorial service will be held in Gaborone on Wednesday while his funeral will be on Thursday at his home village Kanye.

Former Mozambique President Armando Guebuza, former OAU secretary general Salim Ahmed Salim and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa have arrived in the capital.

Former President Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are also expected to attend Masire’s send-off.

On Tuesday Masire’s body was brought to parliament for Batswana to pay their respects. Among them was President Ian Khama, his second command Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Masire was described by many as a man of the people, who used humour to diffuse any tense situation.

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– By Itumeleng Kgajane