Molepolole South MP and BDP chairman Daniel Kwelagobe has stated that despite his outstanding leadership role, former President Ketumile Masire has not been honoured.
Kwelagobe said this while giving a key note address at the showing of a film documentary meant to celebrate Masire’s life and career.
The film, titled ‘The African democrat’, is courtesy of film producer Billy Kokorwe and was shown last Thursday at Maitesong Theatre in Gaborone.
Kwelagobe said that he came to know Masire when he served as the ruling party’s secretary general after the party was formed in the 1960s.He said that Masire worked tirelessly to induct many Batswana into partisan politics.
He said that along with the late President Seretse Khama, Masire worked hard to bring tribal groupings together as a way to building a republican state.
“As Vice President and also Minister for Finance and Development Planning at the time, the foundations of the Botswana economic miracle is often attributed to Sir Ketumile and the team of young technocrats in his office. Following the death of Sir Seretse Khama in 1980, Quett Masire ascended to the leadership of the country and the party; positions he occupied for 18 years in which he had to navigate some of the most trying times in the life of the nation,” said Kwelagobe.
He said that throughout his career, Masire had always stated that he is a farmer on loan to politics. He said that even after retiring from politics in 1998 Masire continued to play a key role in the region and Africa as a whole.
“To mention, but a few, Sir Ketumile served as Chairman of Eminent Personalities of the OAU investigating the Circumstances Surrounding the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. We recall how it was through his persistence and patience as Facilitator of the Inter Congolese National Dialogue that the warring parties came around the table; a process which culminated in a new political dispensation for the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he stated.
Kwelagobe told those who attended the documentary showing that throughout his career as stateman, the former President has displayed fidelity to the values of democracy, good governance, national development, human rights and the rule of law.
“…how does it reflect on us as a nation that up to this day since his retirement we have not found it in ourselves to decorate and honour Sir Ketumile like others outside our borders have seen fit? Why is Sir Ketumile without honour in his own country? Is this not an indictment on how we treat our heroes and icons that a co-founder of this Republic, who has been so integral to its development does not have a single landmark or public building named in his honour?” he questioned.
Kwelagobe said that there are many Batswana who consider Masire to be the most important figure in the evolution of Botswana as a successful and modern democracy with an enviable track record of socio economic development.
“Efforts such as memoirs and documentaries keep on reminding us that, perhaps inadvertently, we have made an omission of unforgivable proportions, which ought to be corrected by the powers that be,” said the BDP strongman.