Former President Mogae Recieves yet another Award
Former president Festus Mogae has been named "Africa's Man of the Year 2008" by Africa Today magazine. The Former President, who stepped down from office in April 2008, was also named as the winner of the magazine's "Face of Good Governance Award 2008." The magazine said in a continent blighted by bad leadership, Botswana presents a refreshingly different picture. It said unlike their counterparts in most other parts of the continent, leaders of Botswana put their people first. The magazine also noted that Mr Mogae has kept alive a tradition started by Sir Ketumile Masire who handed over power in April 1998. It said when Mr Mogae assumed office as the third president of Botswana, the country was threatened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but that he ensured the country's continued stability and prosperity through the careful management of the country's mineral resources.
He diversified Botswana's economy away from the extraction of diamonds while ensuring that more of the processing and sorting of its mining wealth took place within the country. The magazine also credited Mr Mogae with enforcing strict anti-corruption measures that earned the country a regular ranking as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. It said he took office when the country had one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world, and that he responded by first combating the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. He also put in place one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programmes for dealing with the disease. Since leaving office, the former president has continued to demonstrate his commitment to fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS.
Africa Today said apart from being a trailblazer in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Mr Mogae is also a champion of the environment and the protection of Africa's natural resources. He is also involved with a number of regional coalitions working to modernise economic conditions in southern Africa. His charitable involvements include membership in the Botswana Society of the Deaf and the Kalahari Conservation Society. Mr Mogae was chosen from a shortlist of outstanding African personalities, and was declared the eventual winner after a marathon session in London. The award is aimed at promoting democracy and good governance; engender sustainable development; advance regional integration and cooperation, and harness the tools of constructive journalism for positive growth in Africa. The award is given to either a sitting or immediate past head of state adjudged the best in Africa in a particular year. It is noted for its rigorous and meticulous process and credibility. Previous winners of the award include the former president of Ghana, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor.
This award follows another that he received in October 2008, the $5 million Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Quoted on allAfrica .com Mr Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General and Chairman of the Prize Committee, said the panel selected Mr Mogae as the 2008 Ibrahim Laureate because of his "outstanding leadership that has ensured Botswana's continued stability and prosperity in the face of an HIV/Aids pandemic which threatened the future of his country and people."
"Botswana demonstrates how a country with natural resources can promote sustainable development with good governance, on a continent where too often mineral wealth has become a curse," he said.