A professor of Linguistics at the University of Botswana has said Sir Ketumile Masire’s speech at Gomolemo Motswaledi’s funeral was an endorsement of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe told The Voice that while Masire endorsed Duma Boko and the UDC, his principal message was about rediscovering the national ideals of democracy, unity and nation building.
The linguist who is known for the development of Setswana language said as a statesman, Masire is one of the few remaining founding fathers of Botswana.
“When he went to the funeral, he went there to bury his friend and a son he raised in the BDP.
There had been concern from some in the BDP that Sir Masire was disgruntled with the leadership of the party he formed, to the extent that he was perceived as having gravitated more towards the UDC or more specifically towards the BMD,” he said in an interview.
He argued that the current Ian Khama regime is making the mistake of thinking that Masire has shifted from the foundation of the party yet it is them that moved away.
“Masire never shifted in his ideals. We must remember that Sir Masire was most impressed by Motswaledi who flourished under his presidency to the level that in his mid twenties, Motswaledi received the Presidential Meritorious Award for outstanding service to Botswana.
His views have always remained core BDP values of democracy and a tolerance of divergent views.
Instead, the BDP seems to have been the one that heeled away from where Masire and Seretse left it; a matter that has made Masire and many in the BDP frustrated and alienated from their party,” argues Professor Otlogetswe.
According to Professor Otlogetswe, Masire was neither being BDP not pro-opposition.
The UB academic said, “He was non-partisan, expressing a very important national ideal that must be protected.
Instead he spoke as a statesman acknowledging the pool of political talent that exists across the political divide such that in the event that there was a change of government, the country will still be in good hands.”
Having made the national case, Otlogetswe said, “Masire made an argument for Duma Boko, and indirectly endorsed the UDC. I believe that his speech was not principally about the UDC but about national ideals.
I however believe Sir Masire did endorse the UDC president Duma Boko and by extension the UDC party.”