Monday, July 4, 2022

BDP forces Gabz FM to apologise for Masisi condom remarks

High ranking officials of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mokgweetsi Masisi, are reported to have forced private station Gabz FM to apologise after airing a live program in which one of its presenters, Regional Richardson, had asked the latter to clarify reports that he allegedly played with a condom during a Parliament session.

The apology follows a discussion during the morning show, called the Solid Morning Drive, hosted by Richardson and Tshepo Ntshole in which they were interviewing Masisi and MISA Botswana Chairperson, Modise Maphanyane.

When the show drew towards the end, Reginald asked Masisi to clarify an incident that apparently happened in parliament recently in which he was allegedly playing with a condom. Masisi replied that the media had blown the issue out of proportion by suggesting that he was playing with it.

“I was not playing with it as suggested in the media, the media made it as if I was blowing it” Masisi explained.

Richardson insisted that, “Minister were you blowing it?” to which Masisi replied, “Are you silly?”
Information reaching Sunday Standard indicates that some senior members of the BDP were incensed at the discussion and called the Gabz FM management demanding that the station apologise for the discussion about the condom incident in Parliament describing it as “distasteful and against cultural norms”.

It is understood that the Gabz FM Executive, Director Lesego Komanyane, was under pressure and hastily issued a memo instructing Richardson and Ntshole render the apology to their listeners and Minister Masisi on behalf of the radio station.

However, listeners called in, attacking the station’s management and saying they saw nothing untoward that warranted an apology. A couple of callers suggested that the station should close the phone lines if they did not allow people to comment on the matter.

A memo to the staff that Komanyane issued on Thursday, reads thus, “This morning during the interview you had with the minister for presidential affairs, Mokgweetsi Masisi, he was questioned about a condom incident in Parliament. This has riled some of our listeners, especially the older one, more traditionalist members of society.”

He added that: “I have decided that for the sake of the radio station, we will air a short apology tomorrow morning even if this riles you as much as you angered your listeners.”

He explained that he was not prepared to enter into a debate as to the pros and cons of whether they should or should not apologise and the merits thereof, adding that “this is an instruction”.

“You will read the apology before the start of the show and will not allow any listener to comment on the issue or raise it. Neither will the two presenters discuss the issue amongst themselves. The issue is closed,” concluded Komanyane in his memo.

Contacted for comment, Komanyane declined to comment.

Approached for comment, BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, said he was not aware that some BDP high ranking officials had called in, forcing the station to make a hasty apology.

“I don’t know anything. Besides, I was not listening to Gabz FM,” he said.

When giving the background of his condom remarks, Masisi explained to Gabz FM listeners that there was a debate on HIV/AIDS in Parliament and one of the MPs had expressed concern over condom shortage countrywide including in Parliament.

Masisi told listeners that during the break, he went to bathrooms and found a condom and took to the house, while Kgatleng West MP Gilbert Mangole was still on the floor he took it out and showed it to Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi who was on the other side of the house.
Masisi could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered.

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