One of Botswana’s longest serving public officers who later became a successful businessman, Cuthbert Moshe Tebogo Lekaukau was laid to rest yesterday (Saturday) at Phomolong centre in Gaborone. While most people know him as an outstanding citizen who served the public service diligently for more than 30 years and a business man of note, fellow worshippers at the Roman Catholic Church described him as a faithful catholic who had dedicated his life to serving Christ and practiced the values of Christianity demanded of every born again worshipper.
During Lekaukau’s requiem mass held at Christ the King Cathedral on Friday, Bishop Boniface Setlalekgosi described Lekaukau as resilient worshipper who had dedicated a chunk of his time to serving the Lord. According to Setlalekgosi, Lekaukau always found time to worship even in the midst of his busy schedule as a high ranking public servant and businessman. “He would always look for a catholic church to attend mass at even when he was travelling abroad on work related assignments,” said Bishop Setlalekgosi.
Setlalekgosi said the late Lekaukau knew the importance and value of being a faithful and dedicated Christian hence he lived to that expectation. Among the many good works he had done and contributed to the Roman Catholic is - according to Setlalekgosi - the support he gave to the church choir and the development of the church. Other members of the parish also described Lekaukau’s demise as a great loss to the church as he was not only a great leader but was a mentor to most.
Lekaukau passed on after battling chronic cancer for quite a time. His however is a life well spent.
A lawyer by training, Lekaukau earned his Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Botswana Lesotho and Swaziland (UBLS). He started his career at the Attorney General’s chambers as state counsel in 1973. After further training which went up to a Master Degree in Law Lekaukau was promoted to be Senior State Counsel and Principal State Counsel thereafter.
He would later be appointed to the position of Deputy Permanent Secretary in the then Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs in 1980. In 1983, he was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and on 1st May 1984 he was promoted to become a Permanent Secretary, a position he would go on to hold in three different Ministries including the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs and back to the Ministry of Agriculture until the year 1996.
Lekaukau was awarded the President's Order of Honour by President Sir Ketumile Masire in 1996 and was later appointed Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) Chief Executive Officer, a position that many reckon defined his career. Though he retired from public service in 1997, he stayed on as BTA CEO on a contract basis. During his tenure at the telecommunications Authority Lekaukau presided over the liberalisation of the telecommunications market, which included, amongst other things, the awarding of the first ever cellphone operator and private radio stations licenses.
His last official position was that of founding Director General of the Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO) at the Office of the President. In business he is credited as the founder of the now flourishing Pan African microlender Letshego that grew from Botswana to cover 10 countries in Southern and East Africa and with a market capitalization of over US$500 million.