Last week’s impromptu meeting between the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership and a visiting African National Congress (ANC) delegation was to formulate a fight back strategy against alleged American and British sponsored regime change in Botswana and South Africa ÔÇô Sunday Standard has been informed.
ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe who led the delegation to Tsholetsa House is the principal promoter of the conspiracy theory that American and British interests are the invisible hand that is trying to effect regime change in the Southern African region.
In February 2016, Mantashe told an Anti Racism March in South Africa that the American Embassy in Pretoria was the hub of the regime change networking. “We are aware of the meetings taking place regularly in the American embassy. These meetings in the embassy are about nothing else other than mobilization for regime change.”
In July 2016, he told the ANC working Committee that disturbances in Zimbabwe and Mozambique were sponsored activities bent on regime change. “These activities follow the assessment we had earlier made as liberation movements of the sponsored elements seeking to effect regime change in the region.”
Mantashe this week met the BDP leadership represented by President Lt Gen Ian Khama and party Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane among others, where the western interests sponsored regime change narrative allegedly formed the major theme of the discussions.
The meeting is reported have centred on the intelligence report that South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma used to fire his Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. The finance minister was recalled from his overseas trip following the “intelligence report” claiming that he would be holding secret meetings with people in the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss “overthrowing the state”, as part of “Operation Check Mate”.
The intelligence report which has been roundly discredited is a clone of Mantashe’s conspiracy theory. Sources close to the meeting claim that Mantashe and his delegation convinced the BDP leadership that the West was working with Botswana opposition parties to effect regime change in the country while in South Africa it was working with some ANC insiders and South African opposition parties.
Mantashe who was initially opposed to the cabinet reshuffle that fired Gordhan has since retracted his criticism and apologised to President Zuma.
MantasheÔÇÜ Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize issued an apology for publicly disagreeing with Zama’s decision to reshuffle his cabinet and questioning the legitimacy of the report.
Quizzed on reports that ANC and BDP leadership discussed third force sponsored regime change, Mantashe was non committal. He said: “Let me tell you what we said; we said one of the mistakes that have been committed in the cabinet reshuffle itself is to give an explanation based on an intelligence report, now if you want me to condemn that and then talk of a third force, I see that as a trap, if I were you and then get into that trap and you would say now you are talking of a third force but yesterday you were condemning an intelligence report.”
Mantashe further stated that, “when there is a reshuffle in his cabinet, a President is not expected to give an explanation. It was a mistake to give an explanation for the reshuffle and based on the intelligence report, I won’t get into the third force that you are referring to.”
A highly placed source told Sunday Standard that “Mantashe’s visit was more than just a courtesy call on the BDP. It was to rally partnership against a perceived threat from a third force. This ‘third force,’ is accused of brewing all the political troubles currently plaguing the two parties. Apparently this ‘Third Force’ is fanning ‘Regime change’ sentiments in the two countries in order to pursue an ‘imperialist agenda.’”
He said the visit signalled growing political reality that despite different historical and ideological orientation, the two parties are staring humiliating defeat in the coming elections at the hands of the perceived ‘Third Force.’
“Therefore, fear of ‘Third Force’ is the common denominator in this BDP-ANC romance. It is in essence, a relationship born out of common fear. Therefore, the current convergence we are seeing in orientation and outlook of the two parties is a consequence of fear of a ‘Third Force.’ However, political scapegoating and denialism is not entirely a new phenomenon, especially with the ANC,” he said.
Responding to a journalist who wanted to know why BDP was now closer to the BDP than its historical ally in the BNF, Mantashe likened the BNF to a nagging wife in a polygamous relationship.
“The ANC does not have a polygamous relationship with the BDP and BNF. We wonder why they are always complaining when we visit the BDP as if we are in a polygamous relationship.” He said the ANC always sends a delegation to BNF meetings. He cited the attendance of some BNF events by the ANC deputy Secretary General Thandi Modise. “Sometimes I wonder if they want the ANC or its secretary general,” he asked rhetorically.