Ceremony to address family concerns about formal handing over of Sir Seretse’s honorary award
In an effort to address the family’s concerns about the handling of the handing over of an honorary award for Botswana’s founding president and patriarch of the family, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is planning a special ceremony for Seretse Khama’s family.
Unseemly blame game
When SADC honoured its founding fathers at its 42nd Summit recently, Seretse Khama’s family was not in attendance. The incident subsequently caused a rather unseemly blame game between SADC and the Government of Botswana over who was to invite the family.
SADC said states were responsible for inviting the right people to collect the awards while the government blamed SADC for what it said were “some delays”.
In the circumstances, the award ended up being collected by the SADC secretariat for handing over to the Khama family but controversy soon ensued when the family complained about how SADC and the government had handled the issue.
Ramaphosa to preside over ceremony
SADC Head of Communication and Public Relations, Barbara Lopi, now says a decision has been taken that Seretse Khama will be honoured in a befitting manner and occasion presided over by outgoing chairperson of the regional bloc, Cyril Ramaphosa, in South Africa where Seretse’s eldest son, former president Ian Khama, and other family members are currently living.
The founding leaders of Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, namely Dr Agostino Neto, Samora Machel, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and Robert Mugabe respectively were honoured as founders of the regional economic bloc at the 42nd Summit of SADC that was held in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, last August.
Their awards were received by representatives of their families. The awards also honoured these stalwarts as leaders of the Frontline States which in 1980 established the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC).
After supporting the independence of Namibia in 1990 and negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa, SADCC was transformed into SADC in 1992.