Last Updated
Friday 21 November 2014, 15:04 pm.
BDF denies AFRICOM links to US-funded facility

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has denied that the training hall to be built at Thebephatshwa Airbase is linked to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
By Staff Writer Mon 24 Nov 2014, 10:54 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BDF denies AFRICOM links to US-funded facility








The proposed facility is funded by the US whose plans to relocate AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa has met with stiff resistance from the continent. BDF spokesperson, Colonel Tebo Dikole has told Mmegi that the hall is part of benefits associated with Exercise Southern Accord between Botswana and the US militaries.The latest edition of the exercise was held three months ago. Dikole said the facility will be used for lectures and should have been constructed at the time of the exercise. "Commencement was delayed due to non-compliance by bidders in the original scope," he explained. He stated that the new facility would be used for training only during exercises.  "AFRICOM does not have facilities in Botswana. The facility has been donated to the BDF by the US government. This is just one of the many such donations by the US government to the BDF," Dikole said.

There have been reports that the BDF has allocated AFRICOM a huge chunk of land at Thebephatshwa to construct military facilities in what may be part of efforts to relocate the command headquarters to Botswana.African countries have rejected the relocation fearing that the command will be used to destabilise the continent. Former cabinet minister, Boyce Sebetela nearly faced off with then opposition MP Olebile Gaborone at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in Johannesburg in 2007 when he moved a motion welcoming AFRICOM headquarters in Africa. The motion was met with boos from PAP. It is not clear whether Gaborone's opposition has changed since he has defected from opposition ranks to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.



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