If former President Sir Ketumile Masire was still in office he would make tackling corruption would be one his hey priorities.
Giving a public lecture on Democracy in Botswana just ahead of Botswana’s 40th anniversary Masire said the country is where it is because its earlier leaders were prepared to blend traditional institutions of governance with the new.
He said there is need for reform especially by way of decentralization, privatization and enhancement of productivity.
He also said he welcomed the ongoing constitutional reforms especially those meant to rid the country’s main law any perceptions of discriminations.
“It is not altogether satisfactory. But it is a step in the right direction,” he said.
He explained that when they adopted the constitution in the 1960’s they did not want to trample too much with a status quo that had been accepted the previous 75 years, of there being eight paramount chiefs.
Other regions that did not have paramount Chiefs were given the liberty to choose for themselves.
“But the problem is everyone wanted to be a Chief,” he said.
He paid tribute to his predecessor for “for diplomatically finding good words to craft the constitution” into words acceptable to all.
Masire acknowledged that Botswana has made an envisable progress in many fields and the country’s democracy is robust and continues to be a solid platform from which success can be traced, but pointed out that going forward there are many challenges especially the HIV/AIDS pandemic, environmental issues, private sector reforms, sustainable citizen empowerment, and low productivity.
“There will always be a need to adapt,” he said.
He advised today’s generation to build on past success especially with regard to continued economic prudence.
He however undermined that low productivity, increasing corruption, HIV/AIDS are undermining past gains.
One of the milestones he singled during his time as president included the reduction of voting age from 21 to 18 years and limiting the presidential term to ten years.