14 May 2021
The Pan Afrikanist Watchman
Saharawi Ambassador to Botswana, Mr. Malainin Mohamed, called on Botswana Trade Unions, political parties and civil society actor to firmly support the legitimate struggle of the people of Western Sahara and Palestine for freedom and dignity, in a speech he gave today during the Launch by BOFEPUSU of its Workers’ Charter at Oasis Hotel, in Gaborone, Botswana.
The event was opened by a welcome remarks and briefing by the President of Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Mr. Johannes Tshukudu, and a presentation of the Strategic objectives of BOFEPUSU initiative, presented by its Secretary general.
The Saharawi Ambassador was given the floor as the Guest of Honour on invitation from BOFEPUSU leadership, to brief the participating representatives of political parties, trade Unions and civil society organisations, on the Saharawi issue.
In his speech, the Saharawi Ambassador emphasized the gratitude of the Saharawi people and government to Botswana President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, to Botswana government and to the people and civil society of Botswana for the honourable and principled position on the Saharawi legitimate struggle for freedom and independence.
Following is the full text of the speech:
Good morning brothers and sisters
I would like first to congratulate all workers and Trade unions of Botswana for the work they are doing to defend Batswana workers’ rights, and convey you warm greetings from the Saharawi Umbrella Trade Union, UGTSARIO, which is willing to build stronger relations with you.
I am not here to talk to you as a trade unionist, though I have been one for years before, I am here to briefly inform you about other serious issues that may sound far from you and maybe sound irrelevant to your struggles, but believe me they are not.
My good brothers and sisters,
I am here representing a country called the Saharawi Republic (more famous as Western Sahara) and I am sure that many of you are hearing this name for the first time. It is a pity to recognize it, but that’s a shared mistake that we all make as Africans. We do not know each other as much as we should, and worse, it seems that we are not doing enough to fill that gap of information. We seem to think that we can survive in this world as individual states, and that’s a very big mistake, because no single state in Africa can compete or face the world of today alone. We have no other choice but to unite, but, we must unite on the basis of the principles and goals clearly set through the African Union’s Constitutive Act and UN Charter.
Western Sahara is a Northwest African country, still fighting for the freedom and liberation of huge parts of its territory.
Though it is a fully fledged Founding member of the African Union, the Saharawi Republic still have parts of its territory illegally and militarily occupied by Morocco, another African country, in total violation of the AU Constitutive Act and UN Charter.
The UN failed so far to convince Morocco abide by the international law, and is still trying to finish the long due process of decolonization in our country.
Yet, one may say that this is not Batswana problem. That this is a conflict happening far away from here, and thus shouldn’t be of concern to Batswana, and that you have other fights to fight, so why should you care? And it may sound like a legitimate reaction. But, believe me, it is not.
Because, don’t be mistaken, this conflict is not about Saharawi people alone, it is about human and peoples rights, it is about the right of all peoples to their freedom and right to self-determination, it is about the right of every single nation to govern itself without any constraints and to chose its own political system. And it is about the rule of law, the respect of the international legality, it is about a fair and balanced multilateralism system that should govern the world. Otherwise, we will go back to the dark ages of humanity.
This is what we are fighting for in Western Sahara, and this is what the Palestinian people are also fighting for: the right to freedom; the right to independence and the right to dignity; the right to mutual respect! And if for any reason we lose this fight tomorrow, believe me my friends, all small nations and all small countries will lose it the next day. This is something that must be clear in our minds.
Dear brothers and sisters
I cannot end my statement before you without expressing my most sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Botswana. Your country, your Government, has indeed adopted a sound and honourable position on the struggle of the Saharawi people since the 1980s when Botswana formally recognized the Government of the Saharawi Republic and rejected the Moroccan aggression and illegal occupation.
This honourable position have been clearly reiterated and confirmed by H.E. President Mokgweetsi Erik Kebetswe Masisi in various occasions before the UN general Assembly and before the African Union summits.
Botswana Political parties, Trade Unions and civil society actors have also been supportive to the Saharawi people’s struggle, and I also believe that a similar support should go to the people of Palestine. It is time now to contribute even more to these two struggles, because our struggle is also yours and has to be.
Source: The Pan Afrikanist