OPPOSITION parties in Botswana have “welcomed with caution” ANCYL president Julius Malema’s offer to help topple President Ian Khama’s government, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
According to the Mmegi, the opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy’s chair, Nehemiah Modubule, urged more organisations to “come on board and support the opposition partnership advocating for change in Botswana”.
Modubule would discuss with the ANC Youth League what kind of help it could provide.
In May, Khama was quoted describing Malema as an “ill-disciplined boy” and said he wondered why action was not taken against him.
Mmegi reported that a faction of Khama’s ruling party befriended Malema on an earlier visit, during which the ANCYL president told a rally the country needed a stronger leader.
ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu on Wednesday said it was not discussing in public plans to aid Botswana opposition parties. The League was unaware of Khama’s earlier comments about Malema.
“We are not aware and not interested. We don’t attach value and significance to puppets of imperialism.”
Mmegi reported that another opposition party, the Botswana National Front (BNF), did not see anything wrong with the League’s offer, but wanted to “have a close look at the assistance being offered” to examine how it fitted with the party’s programme.
According to the report, BNF youth leader Kagiso Ntime said Malema’s comments followed his own speech at the ANCYL national conference in June.
Ntime had said the Khama administration showed it was a “willing pawn of imperialist forces” because it agreed to host Africom, the United States African Command.
Botswana Congress Party spokesperson Taolo Lucas recognised the ANC as a “political force” in southern Africa and would assess any help offered by another party and “act accordingly”.
The report quoted ruling Botswana Democratic Party secretary general Kentse Rammidi saying it had an established relationship with the ANC as a political party, and that it would be inappropriate to hold talks with the ANCYL in the media.
“We have noted their [ANCYL] comments and we will follow appropriate channels to address this issue,” he reportedly said.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the league had undermined its leadership with its statements on Botswana.
“[The] ANC clearly has no policy of supporting regime changes even in countries governed by parties who may not share our ideological outlook,” Mantashe said in a statement.
“We believe in the respect of the sovereignty of other countries and the spirit of good neighbourliness.”