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Commonwealth mourns loss of former Botswana President Ketumile Masire

23 June 2017

On behalf of the Commonwealth, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has expressed her deep condolences to the people of Botswana as the country mourns the death of its former President, Sir Ketumile Masire.

According to the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, the former president died peacefully in hospital in Gaborone surrounded by his family on 22 June.

“I was very sad to learn today of the death of Sir Ketumile, one of the Commonwealth’s champions of democracy and good governance,” said Secretary-General Scotland. “This exemplary leader will be remembered for the key role he played in Botswana’s independence and its first government, and for his crucial involvement in the country’s financial growth and development.

“Even after he retired from politics in 1998 he continued his efforts to improve the lives of the people of Botswana and the surrounding regions. In 2007 he established the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, which has been working towards peace and good governance, children’s welfare and innovation in agriculture.”

The Secretary-General continued, “A highly respected figure in Africa, Sir Masire took on many diplomatic roles, including chairing the International Panel of Eminent Personalities Investigating the Circumstances Surrounding the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. His staunch support of the Commonwealth and its values was evident in his willingness to lead on key initiatives such as the Commonwealth Observer Group mission to Uganda’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2006.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth family I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to his daughter Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, who served as Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth from June 2008 to October 2014, the rest of his family and to the people of Botswana as they mourning this tragic loss.”