Former Botswana president Ketumile Masire has died at the age of 91‚ his foundation said on Friday.
Masire‚ a key figure in Botswana’s independence movement‚ passed away on Thursday night after being admitted to hospital last week.
Masire was due to celebrate his 92nd birthday on July 22.
“The Board of Trustees of the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation (SKMF) and the Masire family wish to inform all friends and supporters of SKMF of the passing on of Rre. He died peacefully at Bokamoso Private Hospital surrounded by his family at 2210hrs on 22 June 2017‚” the foundation said in a statement.
“We thank well-wishers and friends from near and far‚ for their prayers‚ thoughts and comforting messages of support during this difficult time.
“Rest in Peace Sir Q.”
A report on the SKMF website said Masire was in a critical condition when he was admitted to the intensive care unit at Bokamoso Hospital on June 18.
Masire was Botswana’s second president and was hailed for his leadership after it gained independence from Britain.
He was also well respected by South African freedom fighters.
“President Masire ascendance to power in 1980 was crucial to the PAC and its military wing APLA as we sent more young people to military training. It became more easier to pass through borders of Gaborone without any ‘E-Toll’ or difficulty. Botswana became the gateway for our troops to get into other countries such as Lusaka‚ Harare‚ Accra etc‚” the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) said in a statement on Friday.
“We are thankful for revolutionary and courageous contribution that Sir Masire displayed in his entire life to help not only Botswana but his beloved country to realise its liberty. Africa is not where we want to see it but Sir Masire and his generation rescued Africa from imperial forces.”