Wesbank

Sir Ketumile lying in state

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 27 June 2017   |   By Staff Writer
Sir Ketumile lying in state

Former President Sir Ketumile Masire's body is lying in State today at the National Assembly in Gaborone. Members of the Masire family opened the viewing of his body on Tuesday morning before senior Government officials and the general public took turns to pay their last respect. A memorial service is scheduled for the University of Botswana on Wednesday morning, after which the funeral procession will continue to Kanye village where the body will be received in Motebejana ward in the afternoon. A State funeral will then be held on Thursday morning starting at the kgotla and later moving to Masire's homestead where his body will be buried next to his wife, the late Lady Olebile Masire (30 July 1932 – 17 May 2013). There has been a public outcry over the short mourning period for the former President particularly that other statesmen from around the world may need time to prepare to travel to Botswana for the funeral, and that Thursday is a normal working day. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi confirmed on Monday that four former Head of States and three sitting Presidents had already indicated plans to attend the funeral. A family representative, former BDF commander Lt Gen Tebogo Masire, denied any controversy over the date of the funeral, but entangled himself in his response. He told journalists on Monday afternoon that after negotiations over different proposed dates they settled for Thursday "so as not to disrupt other people’s programmes". When asked to reveal who he was talking about, Lt Gen Masire changed his statement and said the family did not want to interfere with the general public's plans for the long weekend. Speculation had been rife that the state funeral has been moved up to avoid a clash with scheduled activities for the current president over the weekend. On Saturday, 01 July 2017,  a public holiday known as Sir Seretse Khama Day the president will take part in  an aviation race for aircrafts at Lekhubu Island (Kubu) called 'Race for Rhinos'.