Olesitse retires from active party politics

James Olesitse
James Olesitse

PALAPYE: Botswana Congress Party (BCP) shadow minister of Infrastructure, Communications and Technology James Olesitse and a long time political activist in Palapye has retired from active party politics.

While confirming he has submitted a letter announcing his retirement to the BCP headquarters, Olesitse also told Mmegi that he was retiring from active party politics to pursue other interests after over three decades in the freedom squares.

“I wish to announce to you comrades that I shall be retiring from active party politics. I have served the opposition for more than three decades (38 years)now. I believe I have contributed to the building of democracy,” the letter reads in part.

The veteran politician, who is aged 57, also thanked BCP members and the party president Dumelang Saleshando for having accorded him the privilege in his office as a shadow minister of infrastructure, communications and technology.


He also thanked Botswana National Front (BNF), which he said introduced him to party politics.

Palapye constituents were not left out as he thanked them for having had confidence in him as a human being and social activist over a long period of time.

“All the years I contested for political offices and lost, they stood by me. The patience, confidence and courage indeed defined me as a political leader,’ the letter continued.

Olesitse also paid tribute to his comrades and compatriots in the country for their constant support and criticism.

“I may have not grown politically; I owe my character, my sobriety and perseverance to you comrades. I salute you for your level of consciousness and shall forever be indebted to you,” the letter further reads.

BCP secretary general, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang confirmed that he received a retirement message from Olesitse some time this week.

He said that the message had been received with mixed feelings, as Olesitse was one of the key assets in the party.

He described him as a veteran politician who had contributed immensely to the growth of the party as well as producing some of the finest politicians in the country.

“Olesitse contributed a lot to the building of opposition parties at a time when it was so tough in the opposition bloc.

“He contested in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) strongholds of Palapye and Serowe until Palapye became a marginal constituency as it is today.

“Though he never won, we are happy that he never gave up,” said Gobotswang, adding that his wish was for Olesitse to remain in the party.

“But, we respect the man’s decision because we know that he will always remember the BCP as ‘once a politician always a politician’. So we believe he will continue contributing to the society at an advanced level,” Gobotswang said.

According to Gobotswang, the veteran politician is a mentor in the party by virtue of his experience. He described Olesitse as a great leader.

Last time Olesitse stood for the position of chairmanship in the BCP central committee but he was unsuccessful.

Olesitse confirmed in an interview with Mmegi that quitting partisan politics to pave way for upcoming young politicians.

He said he believes that he has contributed a lot to partisan politics therefore, he wanted to participate in community-based organisations and also help set up cooperatives.

“I am retiring from party politics not from general politics. I will continue to be a political activist. I have emailed my retirement letter to the head office, but I have not yet resigned from my shadow ministerial duties.

“I believe I have contributed a lot to opposition politics.I even contested against BDP stalwarts including the former president Festus Mogae and Boyce Sebetela.

“Even though I was never successful, I am glad that I am retiring at a time when people have gained their political consciousness,” he said.

 “I have been engaged in opposition politics for 38 years so my retirement does not mean that I am totally divorcing people’s struggle.

“I will continue to help in many ways whenever I am needed, either financially or just advising. I believe we have been forcing reforms by engaging in extra-parliamentary struggles.

“So, I will continue to influence policies such that they can change people’s lives,” Olesitse added.Olesitse is currently focusing on his property business in Palapye and he has been called to the kgotla as one of the advisors.

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