The Midweek Sun

BNF stalwart, Otlaadisa Koosaletse buried over the weekend

He advocated for political party funding to avoid state capture


Scores of mourners gathered in Kanye, Mathubapul­a ward on Saturday for the funeral of Botswana National Front (BNF) stalwart and veteran, Otlaadisa Koosaletse.

Koosaletse unexpected­ly died at his home in Kanye on Saturday August 12th. His death is said to have left the Kanye community in shock and disbelief as he never showed any signs of sickness. Among the mourners were different political party activists, family members, friends and the media.

A staunch member of the BNF, Koosaletse remained committed to his political principles throughout his career. His legacy extends beyond electoral contests, as his life was committed to the service of his family, community and the nation. Koosaletse’s tenure as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobatse from 1994 to 1999 marked a historical moment, as he became the first opposition Member of Parliament (MP) to secure victory in the constituen­cy at the age of 37 years. The BNF veteran and other legislator­s would later lead a group that left the BNF to form Botswana Congress Party (BCP), becoming its founding president. He would later retrace his steps to BNF, a party he dies still serving as a veteran member. Koosaletse contested the race for Kanye North constituen­cy in 2019 under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), and was defeated by BDP’s Thapelo Letsholo who garnered 11109 votes, while Koosaletse got 5667 votes. He is survived by his wife, Boitumelo Setobele Koosaletse and three children, Dr Pulane Koosaletse-Moswela, Lobone Koosaletse and Lesedi Koosaletse.

When speaking about their father before the gathered mourners, his first born daughter Pulane used different words such as selfless, passionate and revolution­ary, to describe him, further saying Koosaletse was a curator of culture.

“Papa was an open book in terms of his emotions. When he was happy, his smile could tell and when angry, his eyes turned red and we would know it was red for danger!” Pulane said. She further revealed that the BNF Stalwart adored his family over everything, that he was a loving leader who was about changing people’s lives. She narrated how jazz music was played in their house during weekends as it was her father’s preferred music genre. “He was a very forgiving man, his love for our mother made us enjoy his love, he treated my mom like a glass,” she said. Second born, Lobone, boasted that his father never called him by his real name, rather ‘Bonza.’ He told the mourners that he once suffered severe asthma and pneumonia and his father supported him until he recovered. “We shared our father with the masses and the world, a man of the people and we will continue to love our mother as loud as he did,” Lesedi, the last born daughter, said. Most speakers at the funeral described Koosaletse as a well-rounded and discipline­d politician, visionary and a community builder. Koosaletse’s friend and compatriot Mokgweetsi Kgosipula described him as an intelligen­t leader since knowing him 46 years ago. “He was a good humble leader and he is my age mate, we are three days apart. On our 60th birthdays, six years ago, we had an arrangemen­t for major celebratio­ns,” Kgosipula said. Kgosipula told the mourners that Koosaletse was a member of a group of former legislator­s which always met to share ideas.

He said the group has burial schemes and other ways to support its members. “Four days before his death, we met in Gaborone, he told me he has been diagnosed with a heart condition; that some doctors said his heart was weak and pumped blood slow.

Koosaletse told me that the condition kept causing him to lose breath and suffocate,” Kgosipula said. Kgosipula said one of the things that he and the deceased agreed on, was the idea of political party funding in Botswana, saying if not, Botswana would have political space for criminal syndicates, who would come to Botswana in the name of party funding and have control over political parties and the country’s resources.

Former legislator Leach Tlhomelang said Koosaletse matched the late Mmathethe chief, Kgosi Daniel Mathiba, as the most influentia­l, hardworkin­g and credible sons of Gangwakets­e, whose commitment to service was unparallel­ed. Tlhomelang explained that Koosaletse was a visionary who displayed calmness and stability of thought with less talk unlike Mathiba, who was a straight talker. Another of Koosaletse’s friends, Murray Dipate, described Koosaletse as an exceptiona­l leader. Dipate rhetorical­ly teased the gathered mourners as to why they did not vote Koosaletse during 2019 elections, for the Kanye North parliament­ary seat.

Also speaking at the funeral, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president Duma Boko said it was sad to lose a rare calibre politician like Koosaletse. “He has made his name, he has lived with loyalty. He was a loyal leader who could not be bought,” Boko said, adding that today’s politician­s are on the auction block.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? REST IN PEACE: Different political leaders gathered in Kanye to bid former BNF MP Otlaadisa Koosaletse farewell.
REST IN PEACE: Different political leaders gathered in Kanye to bid former BNF MP Otlaadisa Koosaletse farewell.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Botswana