Sunday, November 27, 2022

Politicians of all stripes celebrate Mpho Motsamai’s life

Politicians from across Botswana’s political divide this week paid glowing tribute to the late patriarch of Botswana’s politics, Motsamai Keyecwe Mpho, at a stirring church service at Gaborone’s Trinity Congregational church.

What would have been a sad moment turned into a celebration, as one after another, politicians took the podium to bid farewell to Mpho.

The life of Mpho was captured vividly by Moaparankwe Mpho, a family spokesperson, who told the packed funeral service that Mpho was a committed Christian who started working in 1948 as a Welfare Officer in Ground mines in South Africa.

His illustrious political career is traced back 1952 when he joined the ANC, later starting the first political party in Botswana in 1961.

The commemoration both magnified and actualised the late Mpho’s dreams about Botswana. One after another, fellow politicians of all stripes lauded him as a prophetic politician, ambiguous, determined ÔÇô a politician who could be kind and sarcastic in equal measure.

Motsamai Mpho is recognized as Botswana’s first active politician, among other things the first person to address the first political rally held at Peleng in Lobatse.

When he stood up to give his ode to Mpho, Botswana’s second President, Sir Ketumile Masire, revealed that he did his form 3 with Mpho in 1946. He said this time marks a very sad period to him as much as the entire nation.

“Mpho brought sanity to the opposition,” said Sir Ketumile.

He spoke of how Mpho was commonly known by his nickname, Ntodi nonyane ya makgobokgobo, reflecting his passion and confidentiality in politics.

Sharing Sir Ketumile’s sentiments, veteran politician, Dr Gaositwe Chiepe, said people should celebrate the life of a committed Mpho who shaped the nation together with its people.

Dr Chiepe noted that she worked with Mpho in parliament from 1969-1974, and she described him as one who hated corruption.

For his part, President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Dumelang Saleshando said Mpho’s death marked the end of a political chapter for Botswana. He spoke of how Mpho viewed politics not as a retirement job but as calling.

“He would have his eyes on the bigger picture but remain relevant to local issues. Mpho continued to obey and serve God; that was where he gained much power,” said Saleshando.

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