Ketumile Masire

Gaborone - Former Botswana president and Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson Sir Ketumile Masire will be buried Thursday morning.

Masire, who died last Thursday at Bokamoso Hospital aged 91, will be buried at his home village of Kanye, some 90km from the capital Gaborone.

Several former heads of state from the SADC regional bloc, including Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Tanzania's Benjamin Mkapa and Mozambique's Armando Guebuza had confirmed their attendance.

Other high dignitaries from the region confirmed are King Letsie III of Lesotho and former Tanzania prime minister Salim Ahmed Salim.

There were several other confirmations from neighbouring countries such as Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia to attend, although no names were
issued at the time of going to press.

The SADC secretariat confirmed current leaders and former heads of state would attend the burial.

The flags nationwide have flown flat half mast as the nation mourns its second president.

Masire is widely credited for devising inclusive policies that turned the desert country into one of the economic and political success stories in the continent

He also supported the liberation struggle of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

In power from 1980 to 1998, he also worked towards peace and security in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Lesotho and Somalia.

Masire had retired from politics at the time of his death from an undisclosed illness.

CAJ News Agency