The Secretary General of the Botswana National Front Youth League, Arafat Khan, has welcomed African National Congress Youth League president, Julius Malema’s recent attacks on President Ian Khama.
Khan told The Telegraph on Monday that Malema’s utterances on Sunday, when he called for regime change in Botswana and labeled the Botswana Democratic Party government as a puppet regime, are indications that the ANC’s relations with the opposition have improved over time.
“We have been making numerous visits to improve relations with our comrades in the ANCYL. We attended their elective congress, where Cde Malema was re-elected, and declared our solidarity.
They fully support the opposition cooperation project. The ANCYL’s support for the opposition is an indication that indeed we have fostered enduring relations with the ANC,” he said.
Malema accused the Botswana government of being a foot stool of imperialism, a security threat to Africa and a constant puppet of the United States.
“They, ANCYL, 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,” Malema said.
He added that the opposition in Botswana needs to be consolidated so that it can take over government in a democratic manner. In the end, a coalition government will be formed. Malema added that opposition parties in Botswana were not strong enough to topple the BDP government through elections.
“We know that Botswana is in discussions to open a military base for the imperialists. Botswana is in full co-operation with imperialists, and she is undermining the African agenda. We are not going to sit with neighbours that conduct themselves like that.”
BNF insiders have revealed that they held secret talks with senior ANC members during the recent ANCYL congress, at which they informed them about the political situation in Botswana.
“The ANCYL has assured us of support, and we will use that for our political advantage. In fact, Malema’s utterances are a repeat of what we have been saying all along,” said Khan.
He said the two youth leagues have been in agreement on a number of issues, including their opposition of the stance taken by their respective government against the Libyan and Ivory Coast leaders.
The BNFYL has, in the past, declared their support of deposed Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and estranged Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
Malema said there is a vacuum on the ideological and political leadership of Africa and the sub-regions, as reflected by the mishandling of the Libyan and Ivory Coast problems. The ANCYL plans to convene progressive youth formations across Africa to re-assert the need for Africa’s independence and economic freedom.
“The ANCYL is going into SADC, and Africa to consolidate the youth. The future belongs to the youth of Africa and we must take it upon ourselves to defend it,” said Malema.
BDP’s Acting Executive Secretary, Lee Lesetedi, said they have not yet formulated a response to Malema. He, however, said they will respond in due course to voice their displeasure as “such disrespect cannot be condoned.”
Political pundits have warned that Malema’s utterances have put the South African government in a tight corner. They called on Luthuli House to reign in Malema, lest South Africa finds herself with very hostile neighbours. They also warned that Malema’s utterances are likely to cause regional instability.