SHARE   |   Monday, 26 June 2017   |   By Staff Writer

Khama on Masire

It is my sad duty to formally inform the nation of the passing on of our Former President Sir Ketumile Masire. In remembrance of Sir Ketumile we shall as of today, Friday the 23rd June 2017, begin a three day period of mourning, which shall run through to Sunday the 25th of June 2017, during which flags shall fly at half mast, as they will also do on the day of the funeral. In this time of reflection, members of the public may continue to engage in public and private activities, but in so doing are reminded to be mindful of the need to display behaviour that shows appropriate respect for the occasion. From today until the time of the funeral, a Condolence Book will be also opened at Parliament for members of the public to pay their respects. District Commissioners shall further arrange for Condolence books to also be opened in all District and Sub-District Headquarters. Overseas Condolence books are to be made available at all Botswana High Commissions and Embassies. Additional information regarding funeral arrangements and related matters will be communicated in the coming days. May His Soul Rest in Peace and his family along with the rest of the nation be comforted in this time of sadness.

Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama

President of the Republic Of Botswana

Mogae on Sir Ketumile Masire 

I am deeply saddened by the passing on of our Former President Sir Ketumile Masire.Sir Ketumile Masire was not only my predecessor in the high Office of our land and prominent figure of political life in Botswana, but also one of the few remaining founding fathers of our Republic. President Masire steadfastly steered Botswana through turbulent times, including the painful liberation struggle in Southern Africa, and the daunting economic and developmental challenges afflicting our then young nation. As we grief and recount the rich legacy of our father and leader, as Batswana, we remain indebted to Sir Ketumile Masire for his commitment and steadfast leadership in building, nurturing and consolidating democracy in our country. I am confident that the memory of Rra Gaone will live on for future generations. Having, in 2007, founded and led The Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation himself, Rra Gaone was a true humanist, and such is an example of what he shall eternally be remembered for. We honour his legacy and mourn his loss alongside The Masire Family, the people of Botswana and our friends.

Festus G. Mogae

Former President of The Republic of Botswana

AU mourns ‘true patriot’

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, wishes to extend sincere condolences to the Masire family, the Government and the people of the Republic of Botswana on the passing of Dr. Quett Ketumile Joni Masire on 22 June 2017. The late President Masire was born on 23 July 1925 and was the second President of Botswana from 1980 to 1998. The Chairperson notes with great appreciation that the late Dr Masire played a critical role in facilitating Botswana independence, through the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and voluntarily stepped down from the Presidency in 1998. “A true Pan-Africanist, Dr Masire made invaluable contributions in seeking peaceful solutions to challenges in African countries such as in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia, Lesotho the DRC, to name but a few,” noted Chairperson Faki.

Furthermore, the Chairperson notes with great appreciation the efforts of the late President Masire when he served as Chairman of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities Investigating the Circumstances Surrounding the 1994 Rwanda Genocide from 1998 to 2000. Following the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, the late President Masire served as the facilitator for the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue, an assignment which he undertook with great responsibility and dedication. In May 2005, he led the Commonwealth Electoral Observer mission to the Ethiopian elections and returned in May 2010 to lead an African Union Election Observer Mission to the Ethiopia Legislative Elections. Subsequently in October 2010, he co-led National Democratic Institute pre-election assessment mission in Nigeria. A selfless man and true patriot, in 2007, Sir Ketumile Masire set up the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, aimed at promoting social and economic well-being of Batswana. Sir Ketumile was also a founding Member of the Global Leadership Foundation which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law. The Chairperson of the AU Commission wishes to express his profound appreciation and gratitude to the late Masire for his contributions to the search for peace, security and development on the African continent. May His Soul Rest in Peace and his family along with the people of Botswana be comforted in this time of sadness.

Mandela Foundation on Sir Ketumile

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is saddened by the passing of former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire. Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang sends his condolences to the people of Botswana. “We have lost another great leader in Sir Ketumile Masire, a teacher who cared deeply about youth development to the very end.” At a state banquet for Masire on 23 April 1996 Nelson Mandela said: “Our country has much to learn from Botswana - both from your towering successes and your efforts to deal with the difficulties. All these attributes have made Botswana, and you. Mr. President, a natural and capable leader of the region's collective efforts towards growth and development, within the framework of SADC. We also value your leadership in the region's efforts to promote peace and stability on our sub-continent and further afield.” In all these spheres, South Africa stands ready to work with Botswana and other neighbours to attain the best for our peoples. In his honour, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will continue to work with the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation through the “Caring4Girls” Initiative in Botswana, and Mandela Day Libraries in an effort to deepen work he was passionate about to further youth development.

 Sir Ketumile – the extraordinary man


It is not always an easy job to write about a giant of a man such as Sir Ketumile. A humble hardworking man who helped lay the foundation for the building of the República of Botswana, as we used to know it. Rre Masire and his colleagues, most of whom have passed on unfortunately, [May their worthy souls rest in peace], built this nation from nothing. All they had in abundance was determination to succeed in building a true Westminster style democracy and they did a good job of it. They loved this country too much and wanted only the best for its peoples. Working with that man, was a pleasure and an honour. He was a true leader and mentor. Having come from the background of an ordinary Motswana man, he could easily identify with the people and appreciate their points of view on many issues. He was a great and intent listener – always ready with answers even when questions were tough and uncomfortable. Rre Masire had that rare gift and talent to ease any tense and potentially explosive situation with his impeccable sense of humour. Sir Ketumile was distinctly aware that as President he was first of all, the first among equals. Absolutely no dictatorial tendencies, although he could raise his voice if ever the need arose for him to do so. And he did that without a streak of hatred.

One thing we have been missing and will miss even more, now that Ra Gaone is gone, is his ability to speak his mind and tell the truth, even when he knew it would be an uncomfortable thing to do. The world is quickly running short of those kinds of leaders. He was not one of those who believed that the job of a leader was to lead, and the people should simply follow! No. He knew that a leader needed to carry his people along with him. Consulting with his people came naturally to Sir Ketumile and ordinary people felt valued, important and comfortable in the company of this extraordinary man. As a politician, I have to say, that there is never ever a time when anybody’s passing could be said to be timely. But in this case, I think the timing of Sir Ketumile’s passing could not have been more unfortunate, particularly looking at the current state of our beloved country.


May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Margaret N. Nasha


former Speaker of the National Assembly 


Oh RraGaone…You have crept away to join your beloved ones

I wish I could eulogise such a man, and paint his character and spirit the way they are, but I possess neither the talent nor the pristine language to do so wholesomely. And although the world may remember him, justifiably so, as a towering statesman and former president, this characterization of him falls far short of the titanic human traits he represented. Such a characterization betrays not only his convictions, but also the life he led - that no amount of prestige, wealth, status, rank or position can truly define the full measure of a man (or woman).


Sir Ketumile, Rra Gaone, Rre, came to and lived among us as flesh and blood, but he was no ordinary human. No amount of speeches, television, or books can or will every fully depict his essence and the full measure of the human being he was. For that taste and revelation, we need to have shared in his private moments - his hopes, his fears, his compassion, his generosity of heart, his humility, his brilliance, his pristine language, his wisdom, his courage, his sense of fairness and his convictions and in the love that flamed in him. The gift that he was – continues to be - and the bottomless reservoir to which he has bequeathed to us an immense inheritance – is a treasure that no money can procure. The true tribute to his life will not come from our words, but will find glow in how we choose to offer ourselves to our nation and people and to our commitment to a just, free, happy, prosperous and exemplary society.

My heart and prayers pour to his wonderful children and family, and to the people of Botswana, for a loss so dear. I am consoled by the conviction that he lived a life so full, not for himself but for all of us. The years, in their haste or slow pace, will ensure that the day comes when we will reconvene for an eternally joyous festival of love. I can never fully thank you for what you were to me personally, and the honour it has given me to be counted among not just your sons but your friends.


Ndaba Gaolathe

BMD President

BNF on Sir Ketumile Masire


The Botswana National Front (BNF) joins the nation and the people of the world in mourning the passing on of the second and longest serving President of the Republic of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family. Sir Masire was a founding parent of Botswana along with Seretse Khama, Philip Matante, Bathoen Gaseitsewe, Gaositwe Chiepe, Kenneth Nkhwa and many others. He was in the African Advisory Council and the Legislative Council of pre-independence era that contributed in the independent Botswana. He respected and never abused the same Constitution used today that his party introduced at independence in 1966. We remember with fondness his illustrious career which among others included his role as a teacher, journalist, farmer, politician, international diplomat and elder statesman. His legacy includes turning around Botswana’s low and poverty status into a middle high income economy. He was dexterous in managing this country when he was President, including the introduction of socio-economic policies and plans that were sound and well prioritised. These gave birth to the relatively impressive infrastructural development of schools, roads and health facilities. Masire’s proud legacy includes tolerance of divergent views; uniting Botswana nation; founding Seepapitso Secondary School in Kanye; his formation of Front Line States and SADCC; his wise leadership of this country at the most explosive time in the region and his inclusion, albeit in a small way, of the opposition through the multi-party forum - the All Party Conference. He also played an important international role as facilitator of peace in the DRC, Ethiopia and Lesotho. 

In few words, here lies a man who established a new government, effectively ran a government to prosperity and ultimately peacefully transferred power to another statesman. Whilst we have differed with his political orientation and the hegemony of his party – the Botswana Democratic Party – we nevertheless recognise that he was a man of integrity who did his best to maintain the semblance of peace that existed under his leadership of this country. He and his immediate successor acceded to several BNF proposals like reduction of voting age; introduction of old age pension; introduction of women in the army, to mention a few.  We regret that the gains that this country made under him have been grossly corroded under the current leadership.  May his soul rest in peace!  A true and genuine nationalist!


Justin Hunyepa

BNF Secretary for Information and Publicity

SA’s High Commissioner on Masire 


South Africa's High Commissioner to Botswana, Mdu Lembede says Masire was instrumental in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, by creating a passage for freedom fighters.“ He did not only do it for South Africans. It's on the record that he did it for the region. I mean all the leaders from countries around the region, at one stage or the other, they went through Botswana, whether it Sam Nojuma from Namibia, Robert Mugabe, Samora Machel in Mozambique, they all came here. And they were taken care of, and he was the person in the forefront, and he was seeing to it that people are safe.” []


Remembering Sir Ketumile 

""When journalists ask me what made Botswana an economic and democratic success story, I always explain it in two words--Quett Masire. He is an amazing person who I admire more than anyone in the world". 


Former Bank of Botswana Governor Quill Hermans



"I think Rre Masire has a way of handling people—he is straightforward, he laughs. When you go to a meeting or an event, you don’t say, “have you seen Masire somewhere?” because you just need to listen. He will be with people, just laughing. You just hear this laugh and know where he is. You couldn’t miss his voice and laugh. You hear him through the door. He made everybody feel that they were part of it, there were no strangers at BDP meetings". - Former long-serving Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament Dr. Gaositswe Chiepe



"He is a true Democrat--his tolerance of people was amazing. He would tolerate everybody and you could speak to your heart's content. He took me like his son to be precise. I took him to be my father, and also my political mentor. He was a very principled person, very principled." - Daniel Kwelagobe, in an interview earlier this year.