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Botswana transition seen smooth

A smooth transfer of power can be expected in Botswana, one of Africa's few multiparty democracies, after the passing of the country's President, Sir Seretse Khama, Monitor correspondent Gary Thatcher reports.

Sir Seretse, who passed on Sunday, shaped his dusty, underdeveloped country into a model of multiracialism in southern Afrcia after drawing the wrath of both the leadership of his own Bamangwato tribespeople and British colonial authorities for his 1948 marriage to a white woman, a British nurse named Ruth Williams. He was banned from assuming the hereditary tribal chieftainship.

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But his unwillingness to accept defeat led to a career in politics, culminating in his election as Botswana's first elected head of state in 1965. That same year he was knighted by the Queen of England.

Since then his party has own all four general elections in Botswana. His likely successor, Vice-President Quett Masire, is likely to follow in the Khama mold, and is thought to be committed to continuation of multiparty democracy and a moderate foreign policy.