A tribute to the Gibson Ramukonki Nshimwe – What a life!

19 Apr 2018

I never personally got close to the late former MP until he settled in Maun a couple of years ago where he set up the popular Qhwigaba Guest Lodge, located at Maun’s Matshwane area. He also used to come to Maun on official duties as he belonged to various parliamentary committees. I had also known him to be a close ally of former Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president Gilson Saleshando. The duo would later be an inseparable pair, now that they were both residents of  Maun engaged in a number of activities.

I vividly remember Nshimwe’s utterances at the unveiling of the tombstone of the late political stalwart, Motsamai Mpho on the 13th December 2014 where he gave a somewhat hate speech directed at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). He had joined other people in the VIP tent and had occupied a seat next to mine. In between our exchange of greetings, he joked that I had arrived early at the event as if I was attending a funeral and was to pay my last respect to a deceased person. “O phaketse jaaka ekare o tsile go bona serepa,” he said.

When his time to speak came, he made mention that he was so angered by the inclusion of members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on the day’s program and even made it known that he would draft his own funeral program which would ensure that members of the ruling party are excluded.

“I must confess I hate this party and all its people. This party is made up of self confessed bootlickers and corrupt icons. Motsamai Mpho was no bootlicker as he led a very clean life. So allowing these people to speak here is an insult to the BCP. I am even considering drafting my own funeral program while still alive so as to ensure that these people are not featured anywhere in it,” he stated then.

We would later meet again on a chilly morning of July  30th 2016 when we crossed the Mohembo bridge by pontoon to Kauxwi village in the company of other BCP heavy weights, amongst them Saleshando senior and the current BCP president Dumelang Saleshando.

BCP members were at the time travelling to Kauxwi village for the unveiling of former MP Joseph Kavindama’s tombstone. It was on this day also where the now Okavango constituency parliamentary hopeful Kenny Kapinga surprised many when he gave his first speech as a politician, much to the delight of BCP members. Kapinga had retired from public service as Botswana ambassador to Zimbabwe on July 29thand his presence at the event and the fact that he was even featured in the program raised eyebrows.

The following day at a BCP Shakawe conference I took Nshimwe to the sidelines as I wanted him to share details on Kapinga’s intentions as the latter had not been clear as to which political party he was intending to join. He laughed it off then and said the right time would come, admitting however that should Kapinga come on board it would be ‘a big catch.’

“In the meantime just keep your ears to the ground because this is just the beginning of great things”, he said.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Gilson Saleshando described Nshimwe as a staunch BCP member whom he trusted with everything. He said he has never doubted Nshimwe’s stay at the BCP as he was a very active and committed member of note.

“He is one of the many whom I knew would never defect. He was not a coward and I trusted him even with my own life. We worked closely during our tenure as MP’s. Both of us were driven by ideology, having learnt from converted politicians of the likes of the late Kenneth Koma.We  attended Koma’s political study groups and would later travel the country, most of the times by bus mobilising people, unlike current politicians whose interests are based on personal gains,” he said.

He said he and Nshimwe shunned and detested the BDP government which they believed took delight in the fast progression of the rich while the underprivileged people got more poorer. He continued; “As the BCP we believe this is a very big sin. We have always wanted a government that has the interests of the people at heart, and Nshimwe was very vocal in advocating for such”.

On the other hand Nshimwe’s closest friend and fellow BCP member Morgan Moseki says the party has lost a very instrumental and generous man. He said the late Nshimwe and his team were very active in the development of politics in the North West region. “He is one of the people who contributed immensely to the growth of the party. Personally I am very devastated. The last time we met was recently when I came to Maun on official duties and had lodged at his guest house as I always did. We discussed various issues of concern to the party and other personal matters”.

Meanwhile UDC North West Regional Chairperson Goretetse Kekgonegile confirmed the sudden death which he said happened early morning of Sunday. “Nshimwe has not been well but was doing his daily duties without much hindrance. However he became weak the previous week and was admitted at Kasane  Primary Hospital,” highlighted Kekgonegile.

He added that his departed comrade was likely to be buried in Kasane or at his home village of Satau in the Chobe district. He noted that the deceased was a full time gentleman of politics who loved his people in the Chobe; a disciplined cadre who believed so much in the movement and its principles. He said he was a very vital elder whom the party always depended on for guidance in the region.

Nshimwe was the deputy chairperson of North West Region (UDC) until he met his demise. He was also former councilor for Plateau ward in Kasane for ten years (1989-2009), Chobe MP for five years (2009-2014).At some point he also served as Chairperson of Chobe brigades for fifteen years.