ANC spurns BNF advances, flirts openly with BDP

04th September 2017
WE DON’T KNOW BNF: Mantashe of the ANC with Balopi and Khama of the BDP Source:The Midweek Sun

The danger of long distance or cross-border relationships is the real prospect that you could be stood up on a date. And while Botswana National Front (BNF) continues to show strong feelings of affection for African National Congress (ANC), the latter doesn’t reciprocate the chemistry. This past weekend party leadership and the rank and file were left with an egg in the face, as ANC were nowhere to be seen at a Lobatse appointment.

ANC members including their Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe were seen wining and dining with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) over the weekend in Serowe. Matanshe even managed to surmount the audacity to tell BDP leadership and party members that ANC are not friends with BNF and they do not see the need to mention them as their partners in the struggle. BNF had organised a commemoration of ANC 1962 Conference that was held in Lobatse.

Only South African Communist Party (SACP) was seen at the event. Speaking in an interview with one vocal BNF Councillor on condition of anonymity, he expressed disappointment that after several occasions even though ANC has shown it does not value BNF, he wonders why the party leadership is still chasing after them. “This is an embarrassment. We organised an ANC event and no one is here yet they are in the country celebrating with BDP.

Tota ke ipotsa gore gatwe bogogi jwa rona bo batlang mo ANC. It is time to move on,” he said. But Secretary General of BNF, Moeti Mohwasa was on a defensive mood that they are not going to measure their relationship with ANC on the basis that they are working with BDP. “Our relationship with ANC is ideological and that will not change,” he said. Mohwasa said the reason why ANC did not make it to the event was that they had communicated with them that the event should be held in October because of their busy schedule.

“We proceeded with the event together with SACP. This is because in October we will be busy preparing for primary elections,” said Mohwasa.According to a party activist, BNF should not have held the event because “we knew that ANC is not going to come. They were going to BDP event. It is like we are desperate for a relationship. There are so many parties we can be friends with and leave ANC to BDP,” he said adding that should the party continue engaging ANC in the future despite this cold reception he will encourage his fellow comrades to shun them.

“This is the time now for us to end the relationship with ANC because they do not need us,” he said. In the press release before the event, BNF Publicity Secretary, Justin Hunyepa wrote, “From South Africa, the ANC and the South African Communist Party have been invited to grace the event and make speeches.” “Families of Fish Keitseng, Dingake and other activists who attended the conference have also been invited to grace the commemoration. Cde Keitseng assisted the ANC cadres for years in Lobatse. He was a member of the ANC while working in South Africa and after being deported for political reasons to Botswana, he continued to assist the ANC in the liberation struggle at his house in Lobatse.

“During the height of the ANC liberation struggle, Keitseng housed South African former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki at his Lobatse house. He also assisted thousands of the ANC activists en-route to other parts of the world for political and military training. “In October 1962, Cde Keitseng organised the ANC underground Congress in Lobatse where the party also launched its fresh armed struggle under their military wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe against the apartheid regime.

Keitseng and Dingake were to later contribute to the formation of the BNF in 1965 and it is their heroic and sterling contributions to the ANC, the people of South Africa and the BNF that their work is being celebrated. “Lobatse residents have also over the years been loyal and a darling of the BNF. Cde Keitseng passed on the 28th March 2005 having been a BNF Councillor in Gaborone from 1989 to 1994. He has since received the Order of Luthuli House (Silver) from South African government and his historic Lobatse house has been declared a national monument,” said Hunyepa.

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