The National Democratic Institute (NDI) expresses its condolences to family, friends, supporters, and the people of Botswana for the passing of Sir Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana, who died on June 22.
A former teacher, farmer, and journalist, Sir Ket Masire, as he was known, was one of the architects of democracy for Botswana, which gained independence from Britain in 1966. He was elected president in 1980 and guided the country’s political and economic development.
Sir Masire’s commitment to good governance and peace had an impact well beyond Botswana’s borders. A longtime friend of NDI, he led election observer delegations to Nigeria, Zambia, and Kenya; and he was a proponent of NDI’s 2005 African Statesmen Initiative, during which former African heads of state recommitted to using their good offices to promote development and advance democratic governance on the continent. President Masire led numerous high-level missions with other organizations across the continent as well, including chairing an Organization of African Unity (OAU) panel investigating the genocide in Rwanda, facilitating the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue to end war in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and observing elections with the Commonwealth and The Carter Center.
“Ketumile Masire’s contributions to democracy and development in Botswana and Africa were measurable,” said NDI President Kenneth Wollack. “We will always remember and honor his legacy.”