Sir. Seretse Khama has been defined as an epitome of inspiration, courage and dedication. Speaking earlier today during the Sir. Seretse Khama centenary celebrations in Gaborone, Mogae was limited by words and time only.
“Sir Seretse Khama was a liberal man. His open-minded outlook transcended the person to constitute one of the fundamental ethos of his leadership. He was a sharp contrast to his African peers, because his administration adopted market-friendly policies to drive economic development. Sir Seretse Khama offered reasonable and stable taxes to mining companies, liberalized trade, and promoted personal freedoms. He upheld liberal democracy and non-racism in the centre of a region embroiled in civil war, racial enmity and corruption.” Mogae showered Seretse with praises.
Former President His Excellency Dr. Festus Gontebanye Mogae, who served in the public service under Sir. Seretse Khama started his career in the public service in Botswana as Planning Officer in 1968 and progressed to become Director of Economic Affairs. Mogae recalled the words by Botswana’s founding President- Sir. Seretse Khama which influenced their productivity at that time.
“The moving words he spoke on the occasion of the official opening of the Orapa Diamond mine in 1972 sustained us through the years. His vision, when we were just four years shy of the first decade of independence, forever shaped our narrative for the economic development trajectory. He underlined, and I quote: “…. The opening of this Mine is a major achievement in the history of our nation. . . and it constitutes a most important step forward in the diversification of our economy.” This is what continued to inspire us, going forward, knowing too well that over-dependence on a single commodity was unsustainable for the economy. ” he remembered.
Above all, Former President Mogae remembers Sir. Seretse Khama as a leader who respected the rule of law and valued consultation. Mogae recalled how Seretse would always seek the views of the collective before taking any position, rather than having his way alone. “It did not matter to him that he was President, but what mattered most that he was neither infallible nor possessed the monopoly of knowledge on any issues” Mogae reiterated.