ANC to BDP: Beware of the Third Force

SHARE   |   Monday, 10 April 2017   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Mantashe and Ntuane Mantashe and Ntuane

The African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe did not come bearing good news for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) when he met them this past week in Gaborone. With the former South African National Intelligence Agency boss Billy Masetlha on tow he came to warn the BDP, highly placed sources say, to be aware of a Third Force that is allegedly colluding with the opposition to ensure that the ANC and the BDP lose state power. Mantashe and his delegation met President Ian Khama and other senior BDP officials, including Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi and party Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane.  On the agenda was to discuss the intelligence gathered by the South African Secret Service (SASS) regarding the political turmoil currently engulfing South Africa and threatening the presidency of Jacob Zuma. According to information gathered by this publication, the intelligence report has pointed out that there is a third force behind the Save South Africa movement and Democratic Alliance to try and cause both political and economic havoc in the regional powerhouse. SASS point an accusing finger at United States of America (USA), which they say is currently sponsoring some opposition parties in South Africa and Botswana to bring regime change in 2019. Mantashe and Masetlha allegedly informed Khama that the intelligence report has pointed out that the operation was based in Botswana and hence they should nip it.

The report, which was presented by Masetlha, informed Khama that very soon the movement will spill into Botswana as a way of bringing down the BDP, warning them they have already been infiltrated. Masetlha is the former security advisor to former President Thabo Mbeki before he was appointed Head of NIA. He was sacked in 2006 after he presented intelligence about an anti-Zuma plot—allegedly involving key Mbeki allies. He faced criminal charges relating to his conduct as NIA boss and he saw off the charges and won compensation in the Constitutional Court for his dismissal. SASS, which is said to have operations in Botswana, has discovered intelligence data which has shown that the USA through some of its agencies is splashing money on the Democratic Alliance in South Africa and the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in Botswana to help them to bring regime change. The DA on Friday led a march together with Save South Africa movement to force President Jacob Zuma to step down. “The report has indicated that the US government and some Western countries have already committed to fund UDC ahead of the 2019 General elections to bring regime change,” said a very close source. The ANC is said to have asked the BDP to join them in forming a united front against the Third Force and Mantashe has recently visited Zimbabwe on the same matter. This partly explains the recent uneasiness by the ANC in dealing with its former ally Botswana National Front (BNF). ANC is said to have developed cold feet towards BNF when they formed alliance with Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), a close partner of DA.

BNF cry-babies
In a brief interview, Mantashe accused BNF of being cry-babies and always nagging about their association with the BDP. “They behave as if we are in a polygamous relationship with them,” he hit out adding that their relationship with BDP cannot be broken by anyone as they share a lot of history.

The BRICS deal
Another concern for the ANC is that the G8 countries want to bring instability into the BRICS block which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as it is threating their economic base. The BRICS group is the largest economic block in terms of population and economy and this is why, according to SASS intelligence, the Western imperialists want it to collapse. Together, the four original BRICS countries comprise more than 2.8 billion people or 40 per cent of the world’s population, cover more than a quarter of the world’s land area over three continents, and account for more than 25 per cent of global GDP. They cited the political turmoil that engulfed Brazil in 2016 leading to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. The modus operandi used in Brazil is said to be similar to the one currently being applied in South Africa. In an interview, Mantashe refused to comment on the issue of the third force and what they discussed with President Khama. In his response BDP Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane said that they recognise that regime change is a catchphrase used by opposition formations in their countries to remove from power liberation parties in certain parts of the developing world. “It is therefore vital for parties facing the ‘regime change’ chorus to knit closer ties and maintain fraternity because if we isolate ourselves from each other we become more vulnerable. We therefore agree as ANC and BDP to be vigilant against purveyors of the ‘regime change’ chorus,” responded Ntuane.

US, Gabz FM elections deal
In raising the Third Force issue with the BDP, the ANC might have found an obliging partner that could easily point to the 2014 General Elections where the US Embassy sponsored a private radio station, GabzFM, to run an election show where opposition candidates were featured. Though the BDP, on its own, refused an invitation to participate in the show it has blamed the US for interfering on the country’s internal politics and has treated the station with suspicion. With the opposition UDC boosted by arrival of another party – the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) –in its ranks, the BDP are facing a tough challenge at the 2019 elections.