Masire a great states­man: Pres­i­dent

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - From Levi Mukarati in KANYE, Botswana

THE death of for­mer Pres­i­dent of Botswana Sir Ke­tu­mile Masire has robbed Africa of a great states­man who served with val­our and hon­our, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has said. The Pres­i­dent said in Sir Ke­tu­mile, he had lost a per­sonal friend and neigh­bour. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was ad­dress­ing mourn­ers yes­ter­day dur­ing the burial of Botswana’s sec­ond post-in­de­pen­dence Pres­i­dent. Sir Ke­tu­mile died in Gaborone last week aged 91.“Pres­i­dent Masire, we are rest­ing a great, great, great man to­day,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe. “It is a loss not just to Botswana, not just Sadc, but to the whole African con­ti­nent. “

THE death of for­mer Pres­i­dent of Botswana Sir Ke­tu­mile Masire has robbed Africa of a great states­man who served with val­our and hon­our, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has said.

The Pres­i­dent said in Sir Ke­tu­mile he had lost a per­sonal friend and neigh­bour.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was ad­dress­ing mourn­ers yes­ter­day dur­ing the burial of Botswana’s sec­ond post-in­de­pen­dence Pres­i­dent.

Sir Ke­tu­mile died in Gaborone last week aged 91.

“Pres­i­dent Masire, we are rest­ing a great, great, great man to­day,” said Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe. “It is a loss not just to Botswana, not just Sadc, but to the whole African con­ti­nent.

“Let us look at the road he has walked and per­haps to walk it or get our peo­ple, our chil­dren to walk it.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said he was glad Sir Ke­tu­mile was given State as­sisted funeral.

“I am here to bid him farewell, it is the last com­rade­ship that he could ever en­joy wher­ever he is and when he looks back he will cer­tainly say this is how much the peo­ple, other peo­ple, recog­nise my deeds,” he said.

“And I am here not just to pay trib­ute on my sin­gu­lar be­half, but on that of my coun­try, that of many other peo­ple.

“In Sadc we have lost a great leader in­deed and I want to say to Your Ex­cel­lences that Sir Ke­tu­mile Joni Masire is what we would call in Zim­babwe a na­tional hero. May God rest him in per­fect and eter­nal peace; and may God give so­lace to his fam­ily; and may God con­tinue to com­fort us all.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe de­scribed Sir Ke­tu­mile as his best friend.

“I shall con­tinue to live with Masire for­ever in my heart,” he said.

“As I have said, I never had a friend as close as Masire. He was the clos­est, clos­est to my fam­ily, my wife and his wife were great friends.

“The death of Sir Ke­tu­mile Masire has not only robbed Botswana of a great leader, but also South­ern Africa and our en­tire con­ti­nent of the great states­man who served with val­our and hon­our,” Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said.

“He gave us both pride and con­fi­dence to work with him as a neigh­bour, col­league and friend.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said he was re­turn­ing to Kanye on yet an­other sad oc­ca­sion.

He vis­ited the town for the burial of Sir Ke­tu­mile’s wife, Gla­dys, in 2013.

“The late Sir Ke­tu­mile Masire’s res­o­lute­ness in fight­ing for the bet­ter­ment of the peo­ple of Botswana will for­ever re­main etched in our minds and I am sure in the minds of each and ev­ery Motswana,” he said.

“His per­sis­tence and per­se­ver­ance in the fight for eco­nomic devel­op­ment of Botswana helped in lay­ing the founda- tions of eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion that the coun­try con­tin­ues to ex­pe­ri­ence to­day.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said Sir Ke­tu­mile played a ma­jor role in bring­ing peace on the con­ti­nent.

“The peo­ple of Zim­babwe will for­ever re­mem­ber the ster­ling role that the late for­mer Pres­i­dent Masire played in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gles of our re­gion,” he said. “When he took over as Pres­i­dent of Botswana in July 1980, there were lib­er­a­tion strug­gles in South Africa and Namibia.

“Pres­i­dent Masire’s ac­tions ren­dered the apartheid regimes into sub­mis­sion, as Botswana con­tin­ued to ren­der as­sis­tance to the lib­er­a­tion move­ments of those coun­tries.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said he had fond mem­o­ries of hav­ing worked with Sir Masire in the for­ma­tive stages of the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Co­or­di­na­tion Con­fer­ence, now Sadc.

Sir Ke­tu­mile, who was Botswana’s Pres­i­dent from 1980 to 1998, died in hos­pi­tal in Gaborone last week from surgery com­pli­ca­tions.

He is cred­ited for me­di­a­tion ef­forts in Kenya, Swazi­land and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

The burial was also at­tended by Le­sotho’s King Let­sie III, for­mer pres­i­dents Sam Nu­joma and Hi­fikepunye Po­hamba (Namibia), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Ar­mando Gue­buza (Mozam­bique) and in­cum­bent South Africa Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from the re­gion also rep­re­sented their coun­tries.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­turned home yes­ter­day.

— (Pic­ture by Pres­i­den­tial Pho­tog­ra­pher Joseph Nyadzayo)

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe ad­dresses mourn­ers at the burial of for­mer Botswana Pres­i­dent Sir Ke­tu­mile Masire in Kanye, Botswana yes­ter­day. The Pres­i­dent re­turned home yes­ter­day.

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