The Economic Freedom Fight (EFF) leader Julius Malema slammed the Government of Botswana this week for refusing him Visa into the county. Malema tweets: “This autocratic military government of Botswana has refused me a VISA even when the Botswana people want us to visit them this weekend.” His tweet was followed by a statement issued by EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Quinton Ndlozi.
EFF said there were absolutely no grounds for a so-called democratic country to refuse a person a VISA merely on the basis that he holds a different political view to that of the government. “This refusal to grant the Malema permission to visit Botswana confirms that Botswana is not a democratic country. There can never be a democratic country that refuses those who disagree with the acts of its government permission to visit it. Neither does a democratic government arrest journalists like Botswana did to the editor of Sunday Standard Outsa Mokone for publishing a critical story about the ruling dictator Ian Khama,” noted Ndlozi.
EFF said Khama’s actions particularly in light of the approaching elections “means that the dictator is suppressing dissent to stay in power.” “First Malema has been subjected to a process where he is the only citizen of the 50 million plus South Africans who needs a VISA to visit what is a SADC country. Secondly, Botswana treats Malema as the only leader of a party represented in the Parliament of South Africa who cannot be permitted to visit Botswana. Essentially, Botswana has rejected a representative of the people of South Africa in parliament a right to visit the people of Botswana, treating him as if he is a terrorist,” stated Ndlozi. The EFF further condemned the silence of the South African government, in particular the department of International Relations and Cooperation in the face of what they termed, “injustice by Botswana government.” “It will be for the first time that an African child is refused freedom of movement in any part of the continent merely to please USA imperialists. What is the difference between refusing Malema entry into Botswana and the politically motivated sanctions imposed by the West on President Mugabe who is the sitting chair of SADC?”
asked Ndlozi Malema’s party is determined to raise the matter with the Pan-African Parliament as well the South African Parliament to ensure that there is recourse to Botswana. “This autocratic military government of Botswana has refused CIC a VISA even when the Batswana people want him to visit. Botswana is afraid of the power of his message and the message of economic freedom. This message however will never be stopped through VISA refusals as it will continue to capture the hearts of the African people for the broader struggle to bestow upon the continent an economically free future,” he concluded. A letter from Departments of Immigration and Citizenship addressed to Umbrella for Democratic Change candidate for Borakalalo ward in Molepolole North, Arafat Khan reads, “I am directed to inform you that the application for the above named Malema Julius Sello- Passport No 459821306 has been turned down. Kindly inform him/her of the outcome and that according to the Visa regulation he/she may re-apply after a period of three months immediately after the date of rejection”. Speaking to Sunday Standard in an interview Khan said despite the government’s decision to block Malema into the country, he was going ahead with his launch. “Malema applied for his VISA last week Wednesday at the Botswana High Commission in South Africa. On Monday I called their offices to enquire about the VISA and they told me that they have not yet received the application. Later in the afternoon I had a meeting with Permanent Secretary, Ikothaeng Bagopi and he confirmed to me that they have not yet received the application and promised to follow up the visa application,” he said.
However Khan said the Immigration Department later acknowledged that they received incomplete visa application papers and a charge of P700.00 was to be paid. He said the charge was paid the following morning (Thursday). “Later that day they acknowledged that indeed the application had been submitted at the High Commission and forwarded to Department of Immigration in Botswana. That is when I met the Director of Immigration Mabuse Pule who told me that the application will be submitted to Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) for vetting.
Pule then asked me to get back to him to check on the progress,” he said. He said he called Pule on Thursday and he told him that there was no progress yet, “I told him that it was getting late as we wanted to arrange for our guests and that is when Pule advised me to tell them that it was likely to be impossible because the board responsible for VISAs met in the morning and had already adjourned. Khan said he parted ways with Pule believing that the VISA application was being processed, to his shock last Friday he learnt that Pule was interviewed in radio stations saying Malema’s Visa application will be assessed next week Tuesday and at the same time they received a letter turning down the application. “We will not end here we will seek SADC intervention and we are likely to challenge it before the courts after we are given reasons why it was turned down,” he said.