The Vice President of the Botswana Congress Party, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswamang, rallied behind the Botswana National Front’s call urging all Batswana, irrespective of their political affiliations, to condemn the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s alleged intention to allow the United States of America army to set up a military base in the country.
Gobotswamang made the call whilst addressing a political rally at the Gaborone Bus Station’s Freedom Square on Thursday afternoon.
Gobotswamang said that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party government had not consulted either Batswana in general or their representatives in Parliament on this very sensitive matter before making conclusions.
The fact that the government has not disputed media reports on this issue, he said, is an indication that there is truth in those reports which he said should worry every Motswana, regardless of his political affiliation.
Most surprising, he said, is the fact that this story comes after the government had signed an agreement with the Americans agreeing that it would not prosecute or hand over to the International Criminal Court American security personnel who commit crimes whilst in Botswana.
He further said that the presence of American military bases in the country would drastically threaten Botswana’s independence in that we will then not be able to question American government decisions that wrongly affect us.
Besides all that, said Gobotswamang, Botswana has all along been known to belong to the Non Aligned Movement and that if it then hosts American bases in the country, its membership to the Movement would be questioned.
The BCP vice-president said that another bad scenario that this would create is an arms race in the region as other countries in the region would also go out looking for military partners.
He said that the Botswana government was buying into the American’s attitude of war mongering and that if the country allows them to set up a base here it should also start to prepare for attacks by radical organasations, such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban, who are at war with the Americans.
Gobotswamang also warned that if Americans are allowed in, Batswana should be ready for massive environmental pollution such as they have never seen as the American war machinery is well known for polluting the environment during testing of their weapons.
Another speaker at the rally said that he was surprised that the current crop of leaders in this country, amongst them President Festus Mogae, seems to be favouring the setting up of American bases in the country whilst former Presidents of this country, the late Sir Seretse Khama and Ketumile Masire, were against the establishment of bases for freedom fighters in the past.
Their reasons for this, he said, were that the establishment of such bases would work against peace and tranquility enjoyed in the country.
Last week, the BNF held demonstrations on the issue and asked Batswana to unite in condemning the decision.