The Botswana Democratic Party is said to be putting in place a media strategy that includes infiltrating and manipulating media houses as a way of influencing public opinion ahead of next year’s General Elections.
Insiders say the party has almost completed the task at the government media complex where the strategy was an easy sell.
The task has, however, not been as easy in the private media where Botswana Guardian newspaper is reported to have been specifically targeted and picked as particularly hostile to the BDP with efforts already afoot to identify reporters in that newsroom who will in turn be relied upon to play the BDP card.
Curiously, The Guardian is part of Dikgang media group where a takeover by a faceless businessman with close links to the BDP is still playing out.
This past week, a board meeting turned rowdy after some board members insisted on halting the takeover on account of a legal opinion tendered to the effect that procedure had been flouted.
Board members believed to be associated with the said BDP allied businessman wanted the transaction effected immediately.
The decision by the BDP not to leave anything to chance is said to be informed by intelligence that there is a groundswell of public anger which could work in favour of opposition parties in next year’s General Elections.
There are those in the BDP who think that if nothing is done, there is a real chance that opposition parties may collectively accumulate as much as 22 constituencies.
This would leave the BDP with an unprecedented narrow majority of about seven constituencies.
This has led to a multi-pronged strategy by the BDP which includes minimizing the level of possible fallout from primary elections due next month.
The strategy to minimize fallout from primaries started this week when, in an internal meeting at Molepolole, party leaders all but endorsed Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri against Kabo Sebele.
Leaders told the party faithful that Matlhabaphiri was the preferred choice of President Ian Khama.
What is, however, not clear is just how the same strategy will play out in other hot spots like Tswapong, where ministers Dorcas Makgatho Malesu and Sola Molebatsi have locked horns, or in Tonota where Pono Moatlhodi is fighting a battle of his life against Thapelo Olopeng.
The media plan, which will be masterminded from the newsrooms of Botswana Television, recently suffered a setback when a reporter who had been appointed a chief mastermind was arrested by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime on allegations of extortion and receiving bribes.
He spent two nights in custody.
While he has not been charged, DCEC insiders say evidence against him is unassailable.
Sunday Standard can confirm that the same reporter had ironically recently tried to extort money from a leading businessman who happens to be on the BDP executive.