Batswana urged to protect Mpho’s legacy

The late Motsamai Mpho
The late Motsamai Mpho

MAUN: Batswana have been urged to embrace the political legacy of the Late Motsamai Mpho to ensure that it does not die away.

This was said during the unveiling of the tombstone of the fallen political titan recently. Mpho born February 3, 1921 died at Princess Marina Hospital on November 28, 2012. Speakers across the political divide described him as a true politician in Botswana’s political history.

Kgosi Moeti Moeti said Mpho’s legacy hinged upon his beliefs that all people should have equal access to a better life. He said Mpho’s politics were those of liberation as he strived to make Botswana a better state for its citizens. He said: “Mpho’s politics were those of peace, truth, Unity and Pan Africanism” and added: ”We have to embrace this legacy.”

Moeti noted that Mpho remained truthful to his believes as reflected by his commitment to opposition politics despite his bad performances in the elections. He said it is clear that had Mpho joined the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), he would have been successful and a much more appreciated politician as is the case nowadays.

He declared that the country has failed Mpho wondering how such a truthful politician could have been voted to Parliament only twice. Mpho was Ngamiland Member of Parliament for two terms from 1969-1979 but never won the constituencies again despite his numerous attempts.

 “Leaders like him are rare. He was a gift to the nation that did not want him,” Moeti said.

He said the legacy of Mpho is much appreciated in the neighbouring Republic of South Africa where he fought for the freedom of that country against the oppressive apartheid government. Mpho joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1952 and later became ANC organising secretary in Western Transvaal.

Another speaker at the event, Benjamin Thupe, University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute (UBORI) library manager, revealed that ORI, which is a research wing of the University of Botswana, is planning to request the Mpho family to donate Motsamai Mpho’s personal library so that all his documents and history can be safely preserved as a collection at the ORI library.

The personal library would house Mpho’s writings and his book collection. Mpho was a recipient of the University of Botswana Moedi wa Kitso award that was bestowed upon him for his contribution to research in the North West District. Thupe said Mpho was instrumental in the setting up of ORI formerly Harry Oppenheimer Research institute.

Another speaker Gaditshwane Mmutla said Mpho despised tribalism and one of his ambitions since forming the first political party in the country, Botswana People Party (BPP) was to ensure that Botswana becomes a Republic not a tribal enclave. Mmutla served as secretary of BPP when it was formed and defected together with Mpho to form the Botswana Independence Party (BIP).

He said one of the unknown stories is that Mpho supported the controversial marriage of the late Sir Seretse Khama’s marriage to the late Ruth Khama when he returned from Britain. He said Mpho wrote to the resident commissioner of the time to express his unhappiness on the treatment of Khama because of the marriage.

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