Botswana’s opposition icon, Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho, will be buried in his home village, Maun, on Saturday.
The leader of the first political party in the country, Mpho started the Botswana Peoples Party, later forming the Botswana Independence Party after political differences with his colleagues. From 1969 to 1979, he would become Member of Parliament for Okavango, serving only two terms.
BIP joined the Botswana Alliance Movement to form a single entity, contesting several national elections under the BAM ticket, spurred by the belief that only a united opposition force could avoid a vote split and end the Botswana Democratic Party’s decade’s long lease on power.
Under Mpho’s watch, BAM was to eventually merger with BCP, his political home at the time of his death. He died on November 28, aged 91, after a short illness.
An open memorial service in his honour is expected to be held on Wednesday, December 5, at the UCCSA-Trinity Church in Gaborone.
A family spokesperson, Moaparankwe Mpho, said in a statement that the casket carrying the body of Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho will then be transported to Maun immediately after the church service.
As the opposition Godfather, the late Mpho helped to galvanise the opposition parties in the Umbrella project talks for unity before they collapsed over disagreements on allocation of constituencies. His funeral is expected to draw thousands of mourners from across the political divide.