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Rosebell is a multimedia communications specialist, journalist and award-winning blogger with experience in gender, peace and conflict. Currently works on public interest litigation for gender justice with focus on Latin America -Africa learning. Rosebell holds a Masters in media, peace and conflict studies from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
A president traveling with a team of just four people is unimaginable in these times due to increased security risks. Even more so if you are one of the presidents who intend on pursuing a life presidency. I have known one president my entire life—President Yoweri Museveni—who has been in power since 1986 and looks to be positioning himself to change the constitution once again. This time to remove age limit. So when you have a good read about President Quett Masire, who ran Botswana between 1980 and 1998, it is refreshing.
President Masire passed away a few weeks ago, and the writer recalls their first meeting in the early 80s—his plan transformed Botswana's development path. Surrounded by minority white ruled lands at its independence, "Botswana survived its birth and was blessed with what many richer, more developed African countries lacked: good leadership".
President Masire was Botswana's second president and came to power when Zimbabwe was winning the war against the white rulers. South Africa was still under apartheid. Masire guided Botswana with the discovery of diamonds, investing the revenue in health and education programmes. Today Botswana is the longest multi-party democracy in Africa. It is the world's largest producer of diamonds. Botswana achieved universal primary education, and secondary education figures are decent. Life expectancy in Botswana is at 64.4 years.
It is seen as one of the most successful models on the continent, but leaders like Masire were down to earth and it is the reason you may not have heard of him among the continent's great leaders.