The United Nations General Assembly has paid tribute to Botswana’s late President Sir Ketumile Masire as one of Africa’s most influential presidents.
Masire passed away on June 22, aged 91. The United Nations Secretariat and regional groupings lauded his example as a democrat, a statesman, a visionary and a peacemaker in Africa.
After a moment of silence, Sir Ketumile Masire was lauded as a leader who steered Botswana from the lower ranks of a least developed state to its place today as a stable middle-income country.
“He became a newspaper editor, a political visionary, a finance minister, a president and a peacemaker. In each and every roll, it was clear his primary objective was to advance the development of his people, his country and his region. It is in no small part due to the wise and able leadership of Sir Ketumile that Botswana has become a model for advancing democracy and economic development,” says General Assembly President Peter Thomson.
Speaking on behalf of the Secretary General, his Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti says:
“He devised and implemented far-sighted policies that guided Botswana since obtaining its freedom half a century ago. Sir Ketumile’s focus on people centred development particularly in health and education helped enable Botswana to make remarkable progress in the years since independence. Botswana is recognized as a model of good governance with an established, strong constitutional and democratic tradition.”
He was praised for his mediation efforts in countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Congo while his work placing Botswana on a path to development has won him global acclaim.
Chadian Ambassador Ali Alifei Moustapha on behalf of the Africa Group says:
“The prosperity of 2.5 million Batswana, the peace and security that they enjoy and the happy prospects for the future are no doubt the work of the deceased who toiled in a difficult context of southern Africa which was besieged by many problems, he nevertheless developed the conditions for what we now call the miracle of Botswana.”
Botswana’s Ambassador to the UN Charles Ntwaagae with the final word says:
“Sir Ketumile was a distinguished statesmen and clearly on of Africa’ best leaders. He touched many lives both within Botswana and outside and was a source of inspiration to all who cherished freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. He set a good example in Africa, which was the second example of a leader who voluntarily relinquished office in 1998 before the constitutional end of his mandate.”
Sir Ketumile Masire was buried at his birthplace of Khanye late last month.
Click below to watch the life and times of Sir Ketumile Masire:
– By Sherwin Bryce-Pease