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Robala Ka Kagiso Rraarona

MONITOR EDITOR
The nation is mourning its second president, Sir Ketumile Masire, who died last Thursday evening. RraGaone served his country wholeheartedly, with a lot of success stories. Masire has worked as teacher, editor, for Naledi ya Batswana/African Echo newspaper.

He is one of the chief architects in the formation of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Masire was Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Vice President, finally ascending to the top seat of President in 1980. He relinquished the post in 1998 and smoothly handed over the reigns to Festus Mogae, another illustrious leader this country was blessed with.

As the nation’s first Minister of Finance as well as Vice-President, Masire championed a series of robust interventions to dislodge Botswana out of its then prevailing status as one of the world’s least developed countries, which in 1966 had an annual per-capita income of only about US$ 60.

His programme included channelling foreign aid, loans, and mining revenues into the development of educational, health, power and transport and communications infrastructure, while encouraging small-scale services and industries.

Efforts were also made towards promoting commercial agriculture. Anyone who knows RraGaone knows he had a passion for farming. Masire’s tenure

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was characterised by high rates of economic growth, marked by Botswana’s rise to middle-income status.

His successes are obvious to the naked eye, and no sane human being can dispute that.

Masire had exquisite international relations judged by the way he handled the era when Botswana was experiencing hostilities from some of its neighbours, because it was accused of harbouring freedom fighters.

In 1985, the South African apartheid government raided Botswana, and killed 15 people. Other international relations disagreements during Masire’s tenure included the Sedudu Island debacle, where Botswana and Namibia were at loggerheads.

It is against this backdrop that we celebrate our departed President with pride.

 His legacy will forever be embedded in each and every Motswana’s psyche, and hopefully other generations to follow will also be able to know about the great works of Rre Masire.  Rest in perfect peace our father, and condolences to the Masire family and the nations at large.



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