Mmegi Online :: RIP General Merafhe
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Last Updated
Wednesday 20 March 2019, 15:58 pm.
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RIP General Merafhe

Yesterday morning the nation woke up to the sad news that one of its illustrious sons has passed on.
By Mmegi Editor Thu 08 Jan 2015, 11:57 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: RIP General Merafhe








The former Vice President and the first commander of the Botswana Defence Force, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, passed away yesterday morning after a long illness. Merafhe served in the public service for more than four decades.

He started his career as a constable in the then Police Mobile Unit (PMU) in 1960 and was appointed the BDF commander at its inception in 1997.

From the army, the 77-year-old silver tongued and man gifted in the garb joined politics in 1989 as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament, later serving as Mahalapye West MP until he retired in 2012, when due to ill health he stepped down.  He served in the Cabinet of the three presidents -  first as a Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration under Sir Ketumile Masire; moving to Foreign Affairs from 1994 where he stayed for a record 14 years. He was one of the longest serving foreign affairs ministers in Africa.  Perhaps it was due to the distinctive public service that President Ian Khama appointed him the vice president in April 2008. He served in that capacity until his retirement in July 2012.

There was never a dull moment when the Serowe born politician took to the floor. The septuagenarian took no prisoners and was not afraid to take his colleagues, especially Opposition MPs head-on.

He once labeled an Opposition MP a ‘village clown’ and went on to berate people of a certain constituency for depriving one of their villages, a ‘local clown’. He felt that concerned MP’s contribution to

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the debate in Parliament was clownish. Even the public servants can bear testimony of the acerbic tongue of the General.

During the monumental public service strike, Merafhe, who had already taken ill, took his arsenals and visited his adopted village, Mahalapye, straight from private hospital bed in South Africa. He felt that since the country was still reeling in the economic recession, the striking workers were greedy. He accused some of them of living beyond their means since they were driving flashy expensive German made Sporty Utility Vehicles (SUVs). That was General Merafhe at his undiplomatic self. Perhaps it is safe to say Merafhe was no populist, and didn’t want to be held for ransom by anyone, hence he was known for speaking uncomfortable truths to his electorates.

Mmegi joins the rest of the world in remembering the departed statesman. Rest in Peace, Lt Gen Mompati Sebogodi Merafhe. Robala ka kagiso Motalaote!

                                                                    Today’s thought

                                         The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.

 

                                                               - Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

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