The militant African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President, Julius Malema, thinks of us as a security threat to Africa. That should disturb us.
Malema describes the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as a foot stool of imperialism, a security threat to Africa and a puppet of the United States.
Malema is reported in the South African media as having said the ANC Youth League will establish a Botswana command team, which will work towards uniting all oppositional forces in Botswana to oppose “the puppet regime of Botswana, led by the Botswana Democratic Party”.
Some may ask: Who is Julius Malema to make a pronouncement on foreign relations? Well, Malema is not your Johnny come lately when it comes to controversy.
Those familiar with the political dynamics of South Africa will remember that he is the influential ANC youth leader who was at the forefront of the successful recalling of Thabo Mbeki as President months before Mbeki’s term of office came to an end.
Malema has lately triggered debate in South Africa over the country’s nationalisation of Mines and expropriation of land in the hands of the white minority without compensation to resettle the landless blacks.
While there may be a temptation to rubbish Malema’s utterances as gibberish, we must pause just for a moment and ask ourselves who else is behind this conspiracy theory? ┬á
We should ponder a little and ask ourselves: Do his utterances reflect the mood within the higher echelons of both the ruling ANC and government?
Is Malema going public about what his elders are thinking in private?
Those are pertinent questions we should ask ourselves.
We should get all the more worried when such dangerous ‘security threat’ talk emanate from our neighbour.
There is something telling in Malema’s claim that we are a security threat to Africa. While there may be no evidence to corroborate his claim, we should be afraid that murmurings in Pretoria have only gotten louder through Malema who has the penchant to shoot from the hip.
There is every likelihood that the ANC and its Government are using Malema as a kite-flier to drive home the message to authorities in Botswana, knowing fully well that he is not an official of the South African Government.
While we have no reason to believe that the level headed men and women who are leading the ANC would sanction such irresponsible and dangerous talk, which by extension, has all the hallmarks of meddling in the affairs of another sovereign state, we should not be complacent and take such at face value.
We should have every reason to be apprehensive of Malema’s utterances. Here we are stuck with an administration which has chosen to break ranks with other regional states by adopting rooftop as opposed to quiet diplomacy while dealing with regiments we deem repressive.
We should not be surprised when others pay us with the same kind of insult we nomally administer on others.
It is public knowledge that Pretoria chose to engage Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Libya silently, for example, while we became the darling of the West when we took the public and hard line route. We are even prepared to arrest Sudanese leader Al-Bashir ÔÇô wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes – if he sets foot on our soil.
We do not necessarily owe any body an apology over our foreign policy. All things being the same, we should guard against getting ourselves isolated both politically and economically by the region and continent.
As a landlocked country, we are surrounded by states which share a lot in common that we do not.
Most regional states have a history of struggling against white minority dominance and rule.
Botswana is perceived to be a puppet of the West and the sooner that perception is tackled the better. Just as we do not owe anybody an apology, so too Malema does not owe us or anybody for that matter an apology.