Tributes continue to pour in for Former Botswana President, Sir Ketumile Masire, following his death on Thursday night in a Gaborone hospital.
President Jacob Zuma says the passing of former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire is great loss to the rest of the African continent. He says Masire is one of the African leaders who helped South Africa fight against Apartheid.
Zuma was speaking on the side-lines of the Southern Africa Customs Union, SACU Summit in Swaziland on Friday. He says for someone who was not ill, it is quite shocking to hear that he has passed away.
“We would like to say to the Batswana, we remember his contribution – particularly during the dark days of apartheid. He stood up and faced the apartheid, he was part of those who worked hard in the front line states when became the president. So he has made his mark in the politics as well as running Botswana. So we know that this is a big loss to the Batswana’s and to all of us in the region.”
The African National Congress has also added its voice to the outpouring of grief at the news of the passing of Masire. The organisation says the region and the continent have lost a leader, a democrat, and an architect of Africa’s economic and infrastructural growth. It says it will continue to learn from his work in bringing about the prosperity of Africa and its people.
Former Namibian President Sam Nujoma is one of the statesmen in the Southern African region who have sent his condolences to the people of Botswana.
“The people of Africa have lost a progressive leader who assisted us to eradicate white minority oppression and occupation in the whole sub-region and we are joining the people of Botswana on this occasion that together we will move on.”
Another Former Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba has also sent his condolence to Masire’s family and the Botswana nation on his passing, saying:
“Masire as you know succeeded the first the President of Botswana who together with other leaders such as Nyerere, Kaunda had been working as a team on the SADC and President Masire had to take over the leadership of Botswana as a part of the SADC member states”.
Masire will be afforded a state funeral. This was confirmed by family Spokesperson Fraser Tlhoiwe on Friday.
Tlhoiwe says President Seretse Khama Ian Khama visited the family on Friday morning and confirmed that flags would fly at half-mast, as the country mourns one of its founding fathers.
He was admitted to the intensive care unit of a Gaborone hospital over the weekend.
Masire was the President of Botswana between 1980 and 1998. He died at the age of 91.
– By SABC