Gaborone – Botswana has reaffirmed its unwavering support for the independence of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara), which is under Moroccan occupation.
On Africa Day 2021, Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Lemogang Kwape, said it was lamentable that an African country was today still a colony – more so under the occupation of a fellow member of the African Union.
He said the principles of self-determination, freedom and political independence remained the cornerstones of the Union and key components of development.
“Regrettably, today we still have some countries on the continent that have not attained their political independence and self-determination such as Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR),” said Minister Kwape.
“We, therefore, need to continue to speak with one voice to support and stand in solidarity with the people of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and call for their political emancipation through the African Union, the United Nations, and other relevant bodies.”
During a State Visit to Botswana by Sahrawi President Brahim Ghali in 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said Gaborone would continue to stand by Western Sahara and its people in their quest for independence, and castigated anyone who supported its oppression.
President Ghali said, “As a member state of the continental union, Morocco has an obligation to abide by the principles and goals enshrined in Article four of the AU Constitution, namely the Respect of Borders and Existence of Independence.”
In 2019, SADC declared its solidarity with the Sahrawi people.
“Freedom is not a gift to the people of Western Sahara,” said the then Chairperson of the bloc, President Hage Geingob of Namibia, in his address at the SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in Tshwane, South Africa. “No one can bestow freedom on the Sahrawi people, for freedom is their birth right, which no one can keep from them and which they must claim as their own.”
He also expressed shock that some African countries actually supported Morocco’s denial of Sahrawi’s right to self-determination
Morocco’s exploitative stranglehold on SADR is despite several AU and United Nations declarations and resolutions supporting self-determination.