Former Vice President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe says it would be unfortunate if principles that the late former President Sir Ketumile Masire believed in to strengthen the ruling party were no longer a priority. According to Kedikilwe who also once served as Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairman, Sir Ketumile Masire believed in empowering the party from the grassroots and across all structures. He said under Masire who was the longest serving BDP Secretary General, the party had a Manifesto that was talking to the people.
“It was the shortest Manifesto when compared with other political parties. The manifesto however spoke to the needs of Batswana. While other political parties focused on disparaging imperialism, the BDP Manifesto explained that a vote is a double-edged sword that could destroy or build the nation. The Manifesto was based on common touch message which is the reason why Batswana trusted the BDP and still have faith in the party.
“The Manifesto predicted distribution of natural resources to Batswana equally. That was the mission and the message we had,” said Kedikilwe this Wednesday at Masire’s Memorial Service held at the University of Botswana. Kedikilwe said as the president Masire ensured that party structures were active and ensured that they serve Batswana’s interests and that of the party.
Kedikilwe explained that Masire would best be remembered for 1967 Legislation that entrusted all natural resources in the custody of the state. The legislation was a milestone, said Kedikilwe adding that this was achieved through consultation. “He was a man of consultation. Tribal leaders, civil servants and the public were taken on board in everything that was done in this country. He believed and championed unity, self-reliance and Botho, which we find pride in today. He used these to guide this nation in order to build the country peacefully,” stated Kedikilwe who was speaking on behalf of the BDP at the request of President Ian Khama.For his part former President Festus Mogae explained that Masire was a workaholic.
He said as a protégé and disciple of the late former president, Masire represents all the descriptions previous speakers had said of him. “He was amiable, humble and a man of laughter. He was a democratic to fault and was considerate. He would seek input from everyone else and would in most instances reserve his opinion,” he said. Mogae revealed that Masire has done well for the country during the time when he served under him. He said he served under Masire for 20 years as a civil servant. Masire served 14 years as a vice president and 18 years as head of state.
“Under all these portfolios, I served under him. I only did not serve under him when I was the President. He has for years been a consultant for free,” he noted. Masire who died on the 22nd of June this year was buried in Kanye his home village on Thursday 29th June 2017.