The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture would like to respond to an article which appeared on the front page of your newspaper edition of the 15-21 February 2009, titled ‘Cabinet divided over multi-million Pula movie deal- Minister Kokorwe’s officials lobbying for the documentary produced by the minister’s son’.
We would like to correct the following facts which were incorrectly stated in your publication;
ÔÇó Honourable Gladys Kokorwe is not the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs but she is the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture.
ÔÇó Minister Peter Siele is not the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, the correct information is that Honourable Siele is in fact the Minister of the said ministry.
ÔÇó The Department of Culture and Youth falls under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture not Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as your article has wrongly stated.
It is very astonishing that your newspaper has decided to take such an unfair approach of calculatingly distorting the information to suit your imbalanced article as the above mentioned facts are obviously known to you.
The headline of the article also contradicts the essence of the message which the article is meant to portray. How can Cabinet be divided over a ‘questionable multi-million Pula movie deal’ while at the same time the article states that, ‘the multi million deal is being prepared for presentation in cabinet?’ This is a deliberate distortion of facts intended to give the readers inaccurate information for the personal interests of the author of the article. Furthermore, the headline was erroneous as government officials never lobby anyone if at all the author knows government operations. Baseless and inaccurate newspaper reporting may be good for the ego of the journalists writing them but they are certainly not good for public consumption.
Lastly, we want your newspaper to tell the public how a confidential document like the Cabinet Memorandum came into its possession.
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture
The Sunday Standard wishes to apologize to its readers for mixing up designations of Ministers Gladys Kokorwe and Peter Siele.
Minister Kokorwe is the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture while Minister Siele is the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the mix up.
The facts of the story are, however, correct: Minister Kokorwe’s juniors are pushing government to spend millions of Pula to buy a documentary produced by the minister’s son, Billy Kokorwe.
Minister Kokorwe’s officials have already prepared a draft Cabinet memo proposing to buy a documentary on Botswana’s first First Lady, Lady Khama, which has been produced by Billie Kokorwe. A copy of the Draft memo has been passed to the Sunday Standard.
In an apparent attempt to avoid a conflict of interest, the proposal to buy Billy Kokorwe’s documentary will be presented to Cabinet by Labour and Home Affairs Minister, Peter Siele, and not Minister Kokorwe whose ministry is proposing to buy the documentary.
This has raised eye brows among Cabinet Ministers and some senior officials at the government enclave who are reading sleaze into the whole deal.
We, therefore, stand firmly behind our story and challenge government to refute the facts of the story as outlined above.