'Masire is no more'

HE CAME, HE CONQURED AND HE LEFT - Sir Ketumile's Masire’s eulogy

As a dark cloud hovered overhead and blocked the sun, the light of Sir
Ketumile Masire was to never shine again leaving Botswana and the African
Continent at large anguished and in deep sorrow as they lost their sun of
the soil. The Tswana Time’s reporter Kabo* Ramasia, *takes you through the
founding father Sir Ketumile Masire journey and reconciles a few memories
during this doleful moment as the nation mourns the fall of a Founding
Father and HERO.

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for
thou are not so;’ ’Right off the bat John Donne starts talking smack to
death whom he treats as a person. He tells death to be not proud because he
is really not scary or powerful as many perceive him to be.

The above quote is attributed to the late Sir Ketumile Masire the Former
President of the Republic of Botswana, in borrowing the words of the father
of metaphysics poetry John Donne (1572-1631), who was trying to demystify
death and help humanity overcome its reality.

Born Ketumile Quett Joni Masire (23/07/1925) he was the second president of
Botswana, in office from 1980-1998, a leading figure in the post
independence period and played a critical role in facilitating and
protecting Botswana’s steady financial growth and development.

Growing up in harsh conditions during the apartheid era in South Africa,
commoners like himself were supposed to make ends meet by plying their
trade in the mines as low paid migrant laborers but Masire set himself
apart from a tender age with distinction and character  that would later on
see him excel in a leadership role.

Masire attended a school in Kanye were he graduated at the top of his class
and would then receive a scholarship to attend the Tiger Kloof education
institute in South Africa.

A teacher by training and profession, he founded Seepapitso II Secondary
School in Kanye serving as the school’s Headmaster for about six years (6).
In 1957 he obtained a Masters Farmers Certificate and established himself
as a leading farmer. Masire found a niche in farming as he took to it as a passion and excelled.

Dr.Festus Mogae, Former president(98-00) has described Sir Masire as “a
farmer on loan to politics.’’ The late Sir Masire also had a stint as a
journalist for the African Echo/Naledi ya Botswana newspaper.

A true democrat and someone who never imposed himself arbitrarily on others
“Rra Gaone’’ as Masire was affectionately known became a darling to the
people  for his sense of humor and clear articulation of issues. He was
fluent in both tongues. A command of the queen’s language as well as his
native Tswana was what made him popular amongst Batswana. Too many he would
never express his good communication skills without having to use a saying
or a parable to further substantiate his point.

Dubbed “the architect of Botswana’s Stability’’ Sir Masire contributed a
great deal to modern day Botswana and  its  lucrative economy, from one of
the poorest state at independence to being a middle income state after 50

Masire together with a couple of democrats was instrumental in the
formation of Botswana Democratic Party(BDP),  a party formally launched in
1962. He served as the first secretary general of the BDP, a party that
would later on win the first democratically held elections in March 1965.

Masire loved Democracy, peace and stability being a keen believer in
freedom of expression and not suppressing divergent views held by other
people. His reign was characterized by good governance.

“Bad governance doesn’t just undermine service delivery, it retards
development, and it also drives violence,” he once famously retorted at a
Conference on Governance and Service Delivery in Developing Economies,
August, 2015. Masire was deliberating on the emphasis of a firm democratic
structure during the conference.

An epitome of success, he served as Chairman of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), Vice chairman of the Organization of African
Unity and Chairman of Global Coalition for Africa and was a member of the
UN group on African Development.

Following his retirement from politics he was involved in numerous
diplomatic missions  with the most prominent being the facilitator of the
Inter Congolese National Dialogue which was mandated to bring about a new
political dispensation for the Democratic Republic of Congo in terms of the
Lusaka ceasefire agreement.

Masire who lost his wife in 2013, passed on last week Thursday aged 91
leaving his children  behind. He will be laid to rest in his home village
in Kanye with a State Funeral held to honor the fallen hero.

Numerous condolences messages from within and across continues to pour in
to the family of Masire with various leaders describing “Rra Gaone” as a
great leader who run his race to the finish.
Prayer services are continuing with the statesman body put for public
display in parliament till the end of today. Flags will continue to fly at
half-mast in remembrance of Masire and the public is encouraged to follow
appropriate protocol during this mourning period to honour his memory.

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