Mmegi Blogs :: A fitting send-off for a true son of the soil!
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Monday 11 December 2017, 03:12 am.
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A fitting send-off for a true son of the soil!

The late Sir Ketumile was a true son-of-the-soil. Talk of U-buntu, botho, (the quality of being human), Sir Ketumile Masire, had it in abundance. He was a man of the people.
By Michael Dingake Tue 25 Jul 2017, 16:36 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: A fitting send-off for a true son of the soil!








No ostentation, no aloofness, no-airs, bi-partisan to a fault, generous with ideas and knowledge – a schoolteacher who taught eight subjects in school! Jack-of-all-trades, but master of none? No, he was master of the quintessential behaviour of how humans should behave to one another, brothers and sisters whether one was in high office and another was a street sweeper! He wasn’t my neighbour, his daughter, Mmasekgoa was. Whenever he visited his daughter, he would, before he departs daughter’s house, stand over the fence and shout a greeting: Dumelang Boorra-Dingake! The two of us would stand at the fence like good old neighbours, chat and exchange banalities. Though we were, politically-speaking, poles apart, we were Batswana first, brothers-in-the-nation. Now and then, I got the flak for applauding his political approaches to political challenge from the BNF young lions. I took it in my stride, convinced that I was right. I watched him break down during his speech in reaction to the signing of Nkomati  Accord by President Samora Machel. “President Machel was bullied to sign!” he almost choked in his emotions as he whimpered and his voice broke down. When Die (The) Groot Krokodil (Big Crocodile)PW Botha), in self-delusion, took a chance and tried to make him sign what was intended to be a Botswana/Apartheid SA Accord, similar to Nkomati, and named by the speculative media, the ‘Limpopo Accord, ’Sir Ketumile told Botha in not so many words, ’Satan get thee behind me!’ It was the last time Botha tried his sick practical jokes on Sir Ketumile. It was most probably why he unleashed his dogs-of-war on June 14, 1985 on Gaborone, killing 12 innocents, which he alleged were ANC terrorists! 

Many Batswana quaked and believed it was the end of Botswana. Not “Ra Gaone”! The late President might express feeling of temporary helplessness at the bullying and intimidation of the previously colonised African brothers, momentarily bullied by the apartheid skunk, because of its military superiority; but Sir Ketumile refused to be intimidated! He knew more than many, that the African solidarity he symbolised would eventually triumph!

It was great to see the African army of his erstwhile continental colleagues descend on Botswana to bid him resounding farewell; good to hear tributes pouring from their lips; he wouldn’t have felt the least flattered by the glowing tributes from his African brethren, he deserved the eulogies, he was the epitome of the solidarity Africa hankers after! From each one who spoke at either the memorial service at the University of Botswana or at Goo-Motebejana ward in Kanye, the day of the funeral, “Ra Gaone”’ stood out as the African Freedom Fighter par excellence! All spoke of a brother, fellow-African, a Pan-Africanist who was blind to artificial boundaries that tried to make Africans aliens to one another.

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QKJ was in the thick of each and every battle fought on the African soil while in office and out of office.

If he hadn’t been the humble, simple, self-effacing creature he was, he could have written a best seller of the century, titled, “Decolonisation of Africa is the struggle of my life!” The most unstinting domestic eulogy came from DK (Daniel Kwelagobe) who outlined the lack of appreciation Batswana in general exhibited towards Sir Ketumile’s magnificence as Botswana president.  H.E ‘s response to DK tribute was typically defensive and flat. The advice for the nation to go back to the crossroads shouldn’t be directed to Domkrag alone. In the forward march as a nation, we need the multi-partisan approach as characteristically displayed by “Ra Gaone”. In as much as HE might have correctly interpreted the cross-roads as referring to his Administration alone, we all need to introspect. In his perpetual quest for the true democratisation of Botswana, the late “RaGaone”, inspired by Malaysia Vision 2020 invited political parties across the board to join in the drafting of Botswana’s own Vision 2020! Since there was nothing awful in copying an inspirational model that reflected democratic aspirations, I think opposition were devious not to participate in the Vision maiden journey.

Vision 2020 adapted to Vision 2016 to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Independence was “Ra Gaone’s multi-partisan approach to the pursuit of Botswana democracy. Democracy is never done, until it yields fruit for the people. Since Sir Ketumile was champion of consultation reflected in the idea of ALL-Party-Conference, why did the opposition distance itself from participation in the Vision?

Unfortunately we did; my party the BNF disassociated itself from the Vision project, because it came from Domkrag. Argument then was, this vision thing was UTOPIAN, Domkrag propaganda to attract support! Looking back, I am not shy to admit we erred and the error might have led to collapse of the project. Here’s my argument:  Vision 2016 failed because the process was unmonitored! Had the opposition been part of it, looking back we could have insisted on monitoring from the inception.

An ‘implementation committee’ at parliamentary level, monitoring all the seven Vision pillar processes were regularly budgeted for; in turn the Executive would have needed a Department, tasked to monitor implementation progress step by step. I am not sure precisely how the Malaysians monitor their Vision 2020, but I do know they have a monitoring mechanism to ensure their Vision 2020 project succeeds. In three years time when  Malaysian Vision matures, it will be clear why our Vision 2016 was a political prank! Unmonitored, few projects get implemented!

Editor’s Note: this article should have been published three weeks ago, but due to public holidays that followed Sir Ketumile Masire’s funeral it had to be delayed.

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