“We were surrounded by white, draconian, minority hostile, arrogant, colonial regimes”
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has demanded a seat for Botswana at the table of the unique and exclusive club of former liberation movements.
Without mincing his words during his address at the recent official opening of the Kazungula Bridge, Masisi said his country has played a pivotal role in the emancipation of Southern Africa during the colonial era.
He said the bridge is testimony to the ever-growing scope and scale of cooperation both Botswana and Zambia have enjoyed for a very long time.
Masisi reminded his high profile delegation that included Presidents from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo that very close to where the bridge is built, there used to be one of the only, very few rare safe gateway places for refugees.
“At the time, Independent Botswana was surrounded by white, draconian, minority, hostile, arrogant, colonial regimes, and this riverine border between Botswana and Zambia provided a safe conduit of passage for them,” said President Masisi.
The President said despite the dangers posed by crocodiles, hippos, snakes and other dangerous animals, the country presented greater reliability and a safe passage for those seeking to liberate their own countries.
These people he said included Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba who camped in Kazungula Botswana before he came to Kazungula Zambia in the 60s where he was visited by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba and many other liberation icons.
“Hence the reason which we advance, with a lot of conviction that we in Botswana must be recognised as belonging to the unique club of former liberation movements, the only difference being, we did not bear arms, but our willingness and humility to support,” said Masisi to a rousing applause.
“In this context, the region will always be indebted to the people of Zambia and their Government. Therefore, this bridge where it stands is of historical significance to the liberation of the whole of Southern Africa,” concluded President Masisi.