The Botswana National Front (BNF) sent a Central Committee (CC) delegation to attend the Moses Kotane public lecture in Rustenburg, North West Province on 21 May 2017. The CC delegation was led by the party President Gideon Duma Boko, who was accompanied by the Vice President, Dr Prince Dibeela, Secretary General Moeti Mohwasa, Treasurer General Noah Salaakae, Secretary for International Affairs, Nelson Ramaotwana, Additional Member Kwenantle Gaseitsewe and Publicity Secretary. The BNF was invited by the South African Communist Party (SACP) for the annual Kotane commemoration. The SACP public lecture attracted thousands of its members and who filled to capacity the Olympic size hall, over-spilling into the parking space and beyond. The communists were itching to hear the public lecture by the Guest Speaker, South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Boko told the SACP activists that there will be a new government in 2019 led by the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). His message received a thunderous applause and ululations from the sardine-packed public gallery and top table. The BNF and UDC President said he was bringing warm greetings from Batswana, who stood with the South Africans in their darkest hours of the liberation struggle, and even accommodated them when they were hunted down and persecuted by the apartheid government. The SACP cadres were killed, harassed, segregated and imprisoned during the liberation struggle and some escaped to Botswana. Boko further expressed worry about Africa that is defined by abject levels of poverty, income inequalities and astronomical levels of corruption. In his short, but well crafted speech, Boko told SACP activists that there was need to define a new Africa that involves commitment to each other and restores integrity in the leadership. He said he struggles to find a leadership that promotes integrity in Africa. He called upon the SACP to have profound integrity and that they relive the spirit of Moses Kotane, Boko roared to yet another thunderous applause. He yearned for Africa that has respect for the masses. He said Africa was where integrity was lacking and one struggles to see leaders with this virtue. He called on the activists to always assess their leaders and uproot those that are unscrupulous and without integrity.
Moses Kotane died 39 years ago and his legacy is commemorated annually by the SACP. He was born on the 9th August 1905 to a devout Christian family of Botswana origins. In the 1930s, he studied Marxism-Leninism in Moscow, Russia. He led the SACP for 19 years as the party’s Secretary General (SG) from 1939 to 1978. He was also once ANC Treasurer General from 1963 – 1973, a post he simultaneously held with that of SACP SG. As a former trade unionist, he was committed to the cause of the working class as demonstrated by one of his popular quotes:”We must speak the language of the toiling masses and understand their needs and demands”. In 1968 he suffered a stroke and went back to Russia for medical attention where he later died on 19th May 1978 and was buried there. His remains were however returned to South Africa in March 2015 and reburied in the North West province.
BNF Information and Publicity Secretary