Constitutional Council decides in favour of Renamo in Tete
youtube (File photo) / Ketumile Masire at the launch of the 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
The London-based Global Leadership Foundation (GLF) has informed AIM that Ketumile Masire, the former president of Botswana, will be one of the international mediators in future dialogue between the Mozambican government and the country’s main opposition party, Renamo.
A GLF spokesperson told AIM, “I can confirm that the Global Leadership Foundation has been asked by the government of Mozambique to make itself available to assist in the talks process being planned in Maputo. One of our Members, Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, will be in Maputo next week for this purpose”.
O Tuesday, the newssheet “Mediafax” wrote that Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair has also been invited to mediate. There is less clarity on whether he will play a role. A spokesperson for Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) informed AIM that, “as part of our ongoing conversation with the government of Mozambique about how best we can support the country’s development needs the AGI team made introductions to the government to assist in the peace process. That process is for the government and it is not for us to comment further”.
Another name linked to the appointment of international mediators is Baroness Lynda Chalker, a former British minister who was given honorary Mozambican citizenship by the government of the then president Armando Guebuza. Baroness Chalker was unwilling to confirm or deny to AIM whether she will be involved and referred us to the Global Leadership Foundation.
Renamo has refused to take part in any dialogue without the presence of international mediators. Instead of talking, it has continued with its armed attacks on civilians in the centre of the country.
The government had initially opposed the use of foreign mediators. However, in June it ceded to Renamo’s demand and a Joint Commission formed between the government and Renamo sent out the first set of invitations at the end of the month.
Renamo proposed three mediators – the European Union, the Catholic Church, and South African President Jacob Zuma. However, it has been reported that the government has also nominated those it believes have a role to play in mediating the dialogue.
The Joint Commission was created in May to prepare for a face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.
Sir Ketumile Masire – Biographical Information
President, Republic of Botswana 1980-1998
Sir Ketumile Masire was Botswana’s second President, serving 18 years from 1980-1998. Prior to this, he was a leading figure in the independence movement and then the new government, and played a crucial role in facilitating and protecting Botswana’s steady financial growth and development.
Having trained as a teacher, Ketumile Masire took up farming in 1956 and journalism in 1958, becoming the editor of the Botswana Democratic Party Newspaper “Therisanyo” in 1962. In 1966 he became a Member of Parliament and later Vice President and Minister of Finance and Development Planning.
In 1980 he succeeded the late Sir Seretse Khama as the second President of the Republic of Botswana, and in 1984 won the Presidential elections under the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. 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.
Activity after public politics
Since his retirement in 1998 Sir Ketumile Masire has been involved in numerous diplomatic initiatives in a number of African countries, including Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Swaziland. Between 1998 and 2000 he served as Chairman of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities Investigating the Circumstances Surrounding the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, and between 2000 – 2003 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. 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.
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.
Memberships and Associations
Source: AIM / www.g-l-f.org