Wednesday, May 5, 2021

An out of power BDP will need a strong private media to help prevent “revenge killings”

The leadership of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change still has a lot of convincing to do.

They have to allay many fears that upon assuming state power they will not embark on a kind of bloodletting often seen when there is a change of power following a long reign of terror similar to that which we have grown accustomed to in this country .

The Botswana Democratic Party has been in power so long that it was almost inevitable that along its path it would leave behind quite a number of broken ribs and skulls if not for anything then at least as proof that they once were in total control.

Many such casualties, in fact a majority of them are today inside the UDC.

And increasingly such victims are already calling for revenge against the BDP should their party get in power as it looks increasingly ever more likely at the next General Elections.

There is no shortage of political hotheads inside the UDC.

And as fate would have it, some of them are found in positions of power.

They hate the BDP with a passion – and not always without justification.

These are the people who are looking forward to a day when they would have authority to avenge some of the political atrocities visited on them by the BDP over the years.

Over the years, the Botswana Democratic Party and their government led and participated in what by all accounts amounted to a reign of terror against those who opposed both the party and government.
Economic suffocation has often been the preferred weapon of choice.

Over the years the BDP has become very good at economically sidelining and then ruining those who disagreed with it, as a way of attracting people to itself under a misguided notion that membership necessarily guaranteed economic success.

We in the media were early victims of this demonic practice.

Things came to a head just over a decade ago when a surreptitious plot was hatched in government to deny Botswana Guardian newspaper all public advertisement.

Although the courts found the decision by government to have been infinitely illegal, the high priests at both party and government never┬á totally agreed with the courts ÔÇô almost the same way that they did not agree that their behaviour at Central Kalahari Game Reserve at around the same time amounted to state enforced brutality against citizens.

The same state high priests have today re-crafted that same instrument and are applying and implementing it with unprecedented vigour, at a much grander scale and with excessive force and determination.

For them it has become a fight for survival, which is perhaps why they are not ashamed by the levels of barbarity.
The private media, in all its multi faceted┬á variations is (rightly or wrongly) being held directly accountable for the party’s poor showing at the polls last year.

And for that  they are being denied government advertising in a most obnoxious scale far worse than what happened to Botswana Guardian newspaper in 2002.

No word inside both party and government can be heard distancing condemning what is happening.

There is a near universal agreement, amounting to unanimous consensus that the private media has to be weakened or better still be killed if the party is to survive and possibly stay in power beyond 2019.
They are wrong.

In a very unusual way, the current BDP seems to be far removed from reality.

Instead of weakening the private media, their grotesque behaviour has only served to unite it in a way never before seen.

Where there previously were doubts about the true intentions of this government on the private media, we have recently found an astounding groundswell of new converts within our trade, all of them preaching with zeal the gospel of how evil this government can be when it comes to its dealings with the private media.

BDP has always complained that the private media was hostile to their government.

But there was always a sizeable proportion of media cadres who remained sympathetic and even intent on giving the BDP a benefit of doubt.

With the latest advertising ban the party and its government has done an amazing job to alienate even its most ardent sympathisers in the media and along the way help swell enemy ranks.

The BDP may feel they do not need the private media now because they have all the behemoth state media resources at their disposal.

That will not forever remain so. The BDP, or at least that section of the party that has a long future in politics is advised to start creating  a history by preparing for a day in future where there will be a basis for a culture of coexistence between their party and the media.

That day is fast approaching.

With no shortage of enemies inside the opposition, the BDP should be careful not to goad and create yet another army of haters inside the private media.

The truth of matter is that an out of power BDP will one day need a strong private media to help stop potential acts of terror being visited on them by some elements currently seething with vengeance as shown by some people who are today in opposition.

In retaliation of what the BDP has been doing to opposition activists, once in power, today’s opposition may elect to be worse in its revenge.

And that is where the private media will become handy.

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