The second President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, has died at the age of 91 after being admitted in hospital since last Friday in Bokamoso with critical condition.
A statement by his family and the trustees of the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation confirmed the death.
“He died peacefully at Bokamoso Private Hospital surrounded by his family at 10:10pm on 22 June 2017,” the statement said.
The Botswana’s first Vice President after independence in 1966 has been considered as the main architect of what has been one of Africa’s most successful economic transition.
He replaced President Seretse Khama in 1980 and served as president for 18 years until voluntarily stepping down in 1998.
He was succeeded by Festus Mogae, who had been his vice president.
Masire played a leading role in the independence movement and thereafter in the southern Africa countries’ steady financial growth and development.
Razia Khan, a well-known commentator on African markets and Africa chief economist at Standard Chartered Bank shared her condolences to the family on Twitter saying: “He may have overseen the most impressive economic transition in Africa, but he was always humble. A true leader. Loved by his people.”
Ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which has been in power since Independence, said Thursday night that his leadership example deserved to be celebrated.
Masire had been actively involved in numerous diplomatic initiatives, leading efforts to resolve political crises in a number of African countries including Mozambique, DR Congo, Lesotho and Kenya.
He was also the chairman of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities investigating the circumstances of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, from 1998 to 2000.
He founded the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation in 2007 to promote the social and economic well-being of the citizens.
Sir Masire was born on July 23, 1925 in a small village Kanye, south-west of Botswana’s capital, Gaborone.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991.