Saturday, January 22, 2022

Malema’s henchman tells BDP youth boss to go to hell

Attempts by Botswana Democratic Party youth leader to open lines of dialogue with his South African counterparts backfired after a spokesperson of the African National Congress youth league, Floyd Shivangu, effectively told him to go to hell.

BDP Youth leader, Bontsi Monare, confirmed to Sunday Standard that he had tried to understand the root causes of a public fallout between his organisation and their ANC counterparts.

For the last two weeks, relations between the South African ruling party, the African National Congress and the Botswana ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party have been at rock bottom after the ANC youth league said Botswana was run by a puppet regime that had to be toppled.

To that end, the ANC Youth League said they have set up a special committee that would work with opposition forces in Botswana as a way of toppling the BDP.

Monare’s attempts did not get to a good start when Shivangu, who is a fierce loyalist of Julius Malema, the ANC youth leader at the centre of the controversy, reminded Monare that perhaps the best starting point would be for him [Monare] to get President Ian Khama to apologise for his diatribe against Malema at a BDP rally last year in Old Naledi when Khama said Malema was ill-disciplined.

“My effort was to understand their point of view. I also sought a meeting with them but to be honest I did not get the best of responses. Floyd [Shivangu] effectively told me that they were too busy designing ways to get us out of power to have a meeting with us.”

Monare said when he told Shivangu that the proposed meeting would offer either party an opportunity to say their side of the story, the ANC youth leader referred him to an outburst by President Khama against Malema in the past.

Reference was also made to Botswana’s foreign policy stance on Libya.

“He effectively said an attack on Libya was an attack on South Africa. But as the BDP Youth we remain adamant that we can still meet our ANC counterparts to iron out our differences,” said Monare.

While the spat has been discussed at a recent BDP Central Committee meeting, Monare has ruled out the possibility of a public apology by President Khama to Malema.

But as a tacit acknowledgement that it is the BDP that started it all, Monare said he is working on selling an idea to the BDP leadership to reflect on circumstances surrounding the BDP/ANC public fallout.

“My view is that this is an opportunity for us to reflect. As a party we have to be careful how we address other people and this applies also to how as BDP we address our own opposition in Botswana.”
Monare underscored the importance of courtesy as one of the basic principles of a debate, no matter how passionately one held a view different from others.

“It is very important to understand that we need each other. The BDP as a ruling party needs to have good relations with other ruling parties in the region. Ruling parties in the region can work with whoever they want, including with Botswana opposition, but we want them to also understand who we are. That is very important,” said Monare.

But just when did relations between ANC and BDP youth leagues begin to go sour?
Monare is of the view that for some time the BDP has been too busy rebuilding structures that collapsed as a result of the party split last year.

He says as a result too much attention focused at building the party has come at a cost of neglecting international relations the results of which are now becoming apparent.

The current spat is an outcome of such dynamics, he said, adding, “But still we should reflect as the BDP.”

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