Mmegi Online :: Khama is right on EFF
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Last Updated
Wednesday 14 November 2018, 16:29 pm.
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Khama is right on EFF

President Ian Khama’s administration has slapped South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) top leadership with a visa requirement. Staff Writer, THALEFANG CHARLES argues that this the right move by Botswana
By Thalefang Charles Fri 21 Nov 2014, 14:29 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Khama is right on EFF








Local media have been reporting the EFF visa requirement without questioning why Botswana is so hell bent on wanting to know in advance when these EFF members visit the country.

Most people, some in the media, take the government’s EFF visa decision as part of the war against opponents. They believe it is a new form of  ammunition President Ian Khama is using to deal with foreigners deemed to be against the government. They link it with similar visa requirements slapped on Rick Yune, the actor friend of opposition chief Duma Boko or Basarwa lawyer, Advocate Gordon Bennett. And I must add here, that the government erred in the Yune and Bennett cases.

So since government has been making shocking decisions with regards to visa requirement, the EFF action too, is considered wrong because of the way the state handled it.

Instead of being clear and candid as to why it decided to effect visa requirement on EFF leadership, government chose to be silent and secretive. The news came out six weeks after the declaration was effected. It was a gamble because it happened two weeks before elections and that is probably why the government chose to keep it under wraps.

But nonetheless, I submit that the government did the right thing with imposing visa requirement on the EFF leadership. The EFF has resolved to be hostile and militant against Botswana chiefly because they are under the wrong impression that Botswana is hosting  the US Africa Command Centre (Africom).

The self confessed anti-imperialist EFF wrote in their 2014 radical elections manifesto saying: “The EFF Government will work towards the rejection of the Africa Command Centre, a military programme of the United States based in Botswana”.

This assertion is a blatant lie that could have serious repercussions for Botswana. Terrorists could come here to hurt America’s allies thinking that Malema and company’s bold assertion that America has a base here is true. It is not a wild thought that even EFF might lend support to any terrorist organisation that is volunteering to target the supposed Africom in Botswana.

Also in their manifesto they wrote: “The EFF Government will work towards African isolation of Botswana, which has been home of an imperialist military base and push for progressive internal reforms within Botswana which should involve the people of Botswana”.

Any state would interpret this as a direct foreign threat to overthrow the government, especially because the EFF manifesto has highlighted that: “These are authentic commitments and programmes, not a patchwork of empty promises and superficial reforms!”

So the government’s response in this regard is spot on. Botswana simply wanted to know when

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such foreign enemies would be in town so that they could be prepared because their mission is in black and white to overthrow the government after baseless accusations. EFF therefore qualifies as a national security threat to Botswana.  Theirs was not just a criticism but also an intent with a plan to overthrow a duly elected government over a lie. Botswana is being wrongfully accused of being an mpipi and threatened with a necklace.

There have been suggestions that Botswana should have faced EFF and debated the matter before slapping the leadership with visa restrictions. But when the news of Africom site was debated, Botswana came out clear that it would not let America set up base in Botswana.

The 2007 report of the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) listed Botswana as one of several countries in Africa that showed an interest in hosting Africom. The then president, Festus Mogae said Botswana had not taken a final position on the matter “because we don’t know what the animal (Africom) will look like”.

In 2011 Malema, while ANC’s Youth League (ANCYL) president, attacked the Botswana ruling party saying: “The BDP is a foot stool of imperialism, a security threat to Africa and always under constant puppetry [sic] of the United States”. The chief reason for the attack was the Africom hosting that Mogae denied had been approved.

Malema said: “We know that Botswana is in discussions to open a military base for the imperialists and the present government of Botswana has the potential to co-operate in this manner”.

The South African Mail and Guardian newspaper interviewed government spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay after Malema’s attack and wrote: “Botswana has dismissed as ‘bullshit’ ANCYL claims that the country is talking to the United States about setting up a military base in the country”.

Malema was later banished from the ANC for the comments he made about Botswana and when he formed his red-bereted movement, his vitriolic and baseless rage over the imagined Africom in Botswana continued. EFF added Malema’s inspired rage in their manifesto without even crosschecking their statements of Commander-In-Chief. The government was left with no option but to remain quiet because it was dealing with a bunch of excited militant ultra-leftists that took their leader’s words as gospel truth. Botswana was therefore forced, just as a precautionary measure, impose visa requirement on the leadership of the EFF.

So for the umpteenth time, EFF, the headquarters of Africom are currently based in Stuttgart, Germany not Botswana. In ending allow me to paraphrase US rapper Jay-Z and say, EFF, we got 99 problems with the BDP, but Africom ain’t one.

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