Gaborone — Botswana should be accorded its rightful place among former liberation movements due to the contributions of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
President Mokgweetsi Masisi said this in Gaborone last week during a valedictory call by outgoing South African High Commissioner, Ambassador Rosemary Mashaba.
He said the only distinction was that Botswana did not bear weapons, but the BDP government had for decades housed liberation fighters and refugees from across Southern Africa, and provided them with material and moral support.
President Masisi said more should be done to document Botswana’s role in Southern Africa’s liberation struggles.
He also expressed gratitude to South Africa for assisting Batswana with medical care and educational opportunities; but noted the need to address bilateral trade imbalances.
Ambassador Mashaba said although the two governments had no structured bilateral engagements, they still worked well together.
She acknowledged Botswana’s big role in the liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid. Apart from assisting South Africa, she noted how Botswana had contributed to the liberation struggles of SWAPO (Namibia), Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe), Frelimo (Mozambique) and the MPLA (Angola).
Botswana, she highlighted, hosted the historic 1962 Lobatse Conference which was one of the significant turning points in the liberation struggle that allowed South Africa’s African National Congress to formally adopt the armed struggle.Gaborone was also the site for one of the most gruesome and brutal attacks perpetrated by the apartheid regime against Batswana and South Africans on June 14, 1985. – BOPA