A delegation of five senior Communist Party of China (CPC) officials met with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership at a secluded place in Gaborone recently in a bid to formulate inter-party ties, The Voice has learnt.
CPC is the ruling party in the populous Asian nation of China and its officials were led by Chao Weidong, the Deputy Director General of the communist party’s International Department. Weidong is also a member of the CPC central committee.
Reliable sources have disclosed that the BCP was represented by its President Dumelang Saleshando who was in the company of the opposition party’s Secretary General Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang.
Contacted for a comment, Dr Gobotswang confirmed the development. Gobotswang said the meeting was at the request of the Chinese ruling party.
“It is true that we had a meeting with a five-member delegation from the CPC here in Gaborone,” confirmed Gobotswang, adding that the fundamental nature of the meeting was aimed at establishing inter-party ties.
Gobotswang further said that Saleshando at the meeting gave a brief history about the BCP and the opposition’s performance in the previous elections. According to Gobotswang, Saleshando talked about the relations that the BCP enjoys with other political parties in Africa and beyond.
The BCP has got political ties with Tanzania’s Charma Charma Party, Mozambique’s Frelimo, African National Congress (ANC) and the Labor Party of the United Kingdom (UK), The Voice has learnt.
“Our president also expressed BCP’s interest in learning more about how the CPC manages its organization of 85million members,” said Gobotswang.
For his part Weidong apparently told the meeting that the CPC international department is responsible for overseeing the external relations with respect to party-to-party cooperation and how it functions.
There are different bureaus operating under the CPC international department and the delegation that visited Botswana is from the sub-Saharan Africa Bureau.
For an external political organization to establish a relationship with the CPC, such an organization must be legally registered and showing friendly attitudes towards the Chinese ruling party, Gobotswanag has explained.
He said the purpose of the visit (by the Chinese Communist Party officials) was to study the political landscape of Botswana.
Upon the CPC’s return to China, Gobotswang said the delegation will compile their report and submit it before the CPC.
A follow up study visit may be undertaken to gain more insight into local politics and this will inform the CPC when it considers party to party relations with political formations in Botswana, he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang proved futile as the embassy phones rang unanswered until press time.