The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) says it will look into allegations that one of its councillors, Banks Ndebele, plagiarised an article originally authored by renowned Zimbabwean political analyst, Professor John Makumbe.
Ndebele, a prolific writer and a regular contributor in several weeklies who is also a BCP councillor in the Kweneng District Council, used a couple of paragraphs verbatim from an article by Prof. Makumbe, who is a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
The article in question was published in Mmegi on the 5th of December 2007 with the headline “Let Mugabe go to Lisbon” whilst the initial article by Makumbe was published on the 13th of November of the same year with a headline that read “Let the dictator go to Lisbon and make a fool of himself”.
Though Ndebele claims the article was meant to appeal to a wider readership and that he was not writing in his capacity as councillor, he fails to acknowledge Makumbe.
Though Ndebele says he had an agreement with John Makumbe, he does not in any way acknowledge the source of some of his ideas that he puts across.
Ndebele says he met Makumbe years ago and was under his tutelage that resulted in Ndebele receiving consent from Makumbe to proceed with his version of the article.
“Only thing I did wrong was not to specify him as the author, I have always admired him as a politician, and I consulted him before publishing,” he said.
The BCP spokesperson, Taulo Lucas, said the party would investigate the matter further in order to establish the extent of the damage done but emphasised that the party did not tolerate plagiarism.
“Obviously we as BCP don’t condone plagiarism, I have spoken to him (Banks Ndebele), but we feel that we need to still investigate further. The matter will be dealt with internally,” he said.
As a result of the accusations, some of Ndebele’s publications may now come under public scrutiny.