The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has reportedly apologised to the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for an endorsement made by ANC member Themba Gwabeni at the launch of Kgosi Laotlamoreng last week.
Gwabeni told the members of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) that they should not be intimidated for effecting change in the country. He claimed to be representing the ANC.
Gwabeni was quoted saying, “It is comforting to see you want authentic change, because you are quite aware that sometimes change can be cosmetic,” adding that it was encouraging to see the people of Good hope-Mabule constituency wanting to vote in their chief who knows their roots and would not be easily bought out in return for their freedom and democracy.
He further said it was impressive to have intellectuals who encourage genuine change; leaders who say they agree that there must be security and comfort; that there must be no intimidation; no torture and that no one should disappear without any knowledge of their whereabouts.
“If you want change, then effect that change. It is not a crime to change, strive for your democracy, you must not be arrested for bringing in new change or new ideologies; it is all for your own good,” said Gwabeni.
Gwabeni Statements was followed by the North West Premier Supra Mahumaapelo’s apologies last week.
The North West Premier apologised through the Vice President also the Chairman of the BDP Mokgweetsi Masisi. The apology was made public at the BDP star rally in Good Hope last Thursday.
In the message to President Khama, Mahumaapelo who also claimed to be speaking on behalf of the ANC said Gwabeni was not sent by ANC to endorse Lotlaamoreng.
He said Gwabeni should be forgiven because he just joined the ANC “from opposition COPE therefore we are still guiding him on the rules and procedures of the ANC.”
Mahumaapelo is expected to visit Botswana soon where he will meet the President and the leaders of the ruling BDP and apologise in person.
Gwabeni’s remarks are said to have shocked the leaders of the ruling BDP who immediately took a decision to approach the ANC leadership seeking clarity on whether the ANC stood by the remarks made by its member.