SIR KETUMILE QUETT MASIRE
(1980 - 1998)

1925: Sir Ketumile Masire, born July 23 at Kanye in the Southern District of Botswana. Son of a minor headman, he grew up in a community where male commoners, such as himself, were expected to become low-paid migrant laborers in the mines of South Africa

 

1949 -1950: ​Masire was trained as a teacher at Tiger Kloof, in the former British Bechuanaland and In 1950, after graduating from Tiger Kloof, Masire helped found the Seepapitso II Secondary School, the first institution of higher learning in the Bangwaketse Reserve. He served as the school's headmaster for about six years. During this period he clashed with  Bathoen II, the autocratic Bangwaketse ruler. Resenting Bathoen's many petty interferences in school affairs, Masire, working through the revived Bechuanaland African Teachers Association, became an advocate for the autonomy of protectorate schools from chiefly authority.​

 

1956 -1957: in 1956 he took up farming, and earned a Master Farmers Certificate and established himself as one of the territory's leading agriculturalists in 1957. His success led to renewed conflict with the jealous Bathoen, who seized his farms as a penalty for the supposed infraction of fencing communal land.

 

1958: Sir K. Q. Masire was appointed as the protectorate reporter for the African Echo/Naledi ya Botswana newspaper. He was also elected to the newly reformed Bangwaketse Tribal Council and, after 1960, the protectorate-wide African and Legislative Councils. Although he attended the first Kanye meeting of the People's Party, the earliest nationalist grouping to enjoy a mass following in the territory, he declined to join the movement.

 

1961: Masire helped found the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He was instrumental in the formation of the party, and served as its first secretary-general.​

 

1966: Sir Ketumile Masire became a Member of Parliament, later becoming Vice-President and Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

 

1980: July 18 1980, he succeeded the late Seretse Khama as the second President of the Republic Botswana. Masire's terms were characterised by an emphasis on developments through regional and international organisations. Masire was chairman of the Southern African Development Community and vice chairman of the Organisation Of African Unity; he was also chairman of the Global Coalition for Africa and a member of the UN group on Africa Development​.

 

1984-1998: Masire won the presidential elections with a landslide of 77% under the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in !984. As President, Sir Ketumile Masire was responsible for the introduction of comprehensive social service programmes which significantly improved Botswana's education, communications and health indicators. Sir Ketumile Masire's government was able to increase nutrition levels in the country during the 1980s, despite Botswana experiencing a severe drought. During his tenure of office, he was Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa. He also became the first Vice-Chairman of the Organization of African Unity in 1991.

 

1998: Sir Ketumile Masire retired from office and since his retirement in he has been involved in numerous diplomatic initiatives in a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Between 1998 and 2000he served as Chairman of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities Investigating the Circumstances Surrounding the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

 

2000 – 2008: During these years Sir Ketumile Masire was the facilitator for the Inter-Congolese National Dialogue, which had the objective of bringing about a new political dispensation for the Democratic Republic of Congo, in terms of the Lusaka Ceasefire Accord.​ In 2007 Sir Ketumile Masire set up the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation to promote the social and economic well-being of the society of Botswana in this year. The Foundation strives to facilitate and drive efforts to promote peace, good governance and political stability internationally; assist children with disabilities from birth; and promote innovation and alternatives in agriculture. 

 

2010: In May 2010 Sir Ketumile Masire led an African Union Election Observer Mission to the May 2010 Ethiopia Legislative Elections, and in October 2010 Sir Ketumile Masire co-led (with fellow GLF Member Joe Clark) a National Democratic Institute pre-election assessment mission in Nigeria, which identified a number of hurdles that could undermine a successful process surrounding the 2011 state and national polls.

 

Sir Ketumile Masire has received Honorary Doctorates from University of Botswana, St John University, De Paul University, Williams College, Sussex University, University of Port Elizabeth, Ohio University, and Carlton College. In 1989 he was awarded the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, the Grand Counsellor of the Royal Order of Sobhuza II (Swaziland), Honorary Knighthood of the Grand Cross of Saint Michael and Saint George (UK), and the Order of the Welwitschia (Namibia). He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991.

 

2017: On June 29, Sir Ketumile Masire was laid to rest in his home village of Kanye. A faithful servant to our nation; May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace.

 

Memberships and Associations​

 

  • Founder of the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation

  • Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa

  • Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

  • Member of Club de Madrid

  • Member of the Africa Forum