State funeral for Merafhe


The national flag will on Saturday fly at half mast as the nation mourns former Vice President Mophati Merafhe who will be buried on the same day.

Botswana will fly its flag at half-mast on Saturday in honour of the late former Vice President Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe.

Merafhe who died last Wednesday will be given a state burial on Saturday in Serowe.

“The former VP will be given a state funeral, and flags will fly half mast on the day of the funeral,” said Government spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay.

Ramsay said the memorial service would be held in Mahalapye in honour of the VP at around 8am at their kgotla.

Merafhe was the Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West from 1994 until his retirement due to illness in 2012.

However Ramsay would not say if there will be viewing of the body or not on that day.

He said it would immediately proceed to Serowe after a short memorial service.

“We cannot tell who is going to come or not from outside Botswana. Again it is early to explain the cost in which the government will incur for the funeral,” he said.   

Merafhe was one of the founding figures of Botswana.

 His record of public service dates back to his commissioning as a constable in the then Bechuanaland Protectorate Police in 1960.

According  to the biography supplied by Ramsay, in the decades he distinguished himself in many roles - including founding BDF Commander, a respected International Statesman and doyen of local Sports development - as well as Botswana’s sixth Vice President.

 “In all of his areas of achievement, the late Mompati Merafhe consistently demonstrated a dedication to national service coupled with an abiding passion for development and progress,” the biography said.

He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1988.

 Upon his retirement from the BDF in 1989, he was Specially Elected as a Member of Parliament and appointed by the then President Sir Ketumile Masire as his Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.

  Also in 1994 he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a portfolio he continuously held until 2008, in the process emerging as Botswana’s quintessential diplomat and global statesman.

During this period he further served with distinction as member and chairperson of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) from 1995 until 2002 and also as president in the Office of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States from 2003 until 2004.

 In April 2008 and again in October 2009 he was endorsed by Parliament to serve as Vice President.

 He has served as chairperson of Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) as well as Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC).

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