African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe is expected to lead a delegation to Serowe for a joint celebration with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
The BDP’s 55th anniversary celebration will be held next week in Serowe and the party has invited ANC as they are friends, BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi has said. He said when the party was formed in 1962 it was the same year the ANC was banned in South Africa.
He said Botswana was the first country to accommodate ANC in Lobatse where the party held its first congress. Balopi stated that it is this history by the liberation movement that has prompted the BDP to invite the ANC to its celebration.
“It is this relationship that we have with them that caused us to celebrate our 55th anniversary with them. As the ruling party we are proud of the part Botswana played in the journey travelled by ANC. We are proud that we still have that strong relationship with ANC as the ruling party.
“You would be aware that about three years back we joined Socialist International where we joined like-minded organisations,” said Balopi adding that during that time Botswana National Front which was a member was expelled because it had joined other parties to form Umbrella for Democratic Change.
Balopi stated that BDP is the only party in the country that has a sound and concrete relationship with ANC. ANC which was founded in 1912 once caused the BDP and the BNF to exchange bitter words as to who is really the friend of the ANC. Balopi has reiterated that Mantashe has made it clear that the ANC has no relation with the BNF. “He was on record that the ANC has relationship with some of the leaders and activists in the opposition parties and not necessarily with those opposition organisations themselves”.
However during his visit in the country in April this year, Mantashe had insisted that the South African ruling party will continue having bilateral relations with both BDP and BNF. He explained that the historical relations of ANC with BDP and BNF are different.
“We are not in a polygamous marriage with BDP and BNF. We do not sleep in the same bed. I do not want colleagues from the BNF calling me every time I am here enquiring about my visit to BDP. I also do not expect BDP to do the same when we are visiting the BNF.
ANC has not dumped the BNF and replaced them with the BDP,” Mantashe stated.