Veteran journalist and Botswana Television Head of News and Current Affairs, Sakaeyo Jannie, is ‘guilty’ by association.
His relationship with the media advocacy group, MISA Botswana, has not only irked his employer but has also made him a targeted man. He is accused of politicizing BTV newsroom and insubordination.
MISA is branded an axis of evil and is accused of being anti-government.
In the past, Jannie has sought to explain that MISA, Press Council of Botswana and Botswana Editors Forum are all professional organizations and that, on that account, he saw nothing wrong in his membership to those bodies.
In Jannie’s latest tussle with some of his supervisors, a committee led by the Ministry of Lands and Housing official, Tiny Keseabetswe, has been appointed to investigate him.
Filed court papers have revealed that officials at the Office of the President who supervise government media are fed up with Jannie and strongly believe he is no longer the right man to pilot government’s propaganda crusade.
The report, which comes after Jannie dragged government to court challenging his suspension from duty, had recommended that he be suspended from work pending a disciplinary hearing. The report is littered with allegations dragging as far back as 2011.
Not helping the situation is the fact that Jannie is a MISA board director. His supervisors are also peeved that he was appointed to the Botswana Football Association, without him first consulting the Office of the President.
Jannie has taken the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Sarah George, to court for suspending him from work pending a disciplinary hearing.
He was suspended from work on the 11th of June with full pay for alleged misconduct.
A report from Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, and addressed to Sarah George singles out Jannie as a source of ‘indiscipline’ in the Btv newsroom.
The report paints Jannie as an unruly employee with a history of indiscipline. The report, which is heavily laden with military language, casts Jannie as a hopeless case and a source of ‘performance weaknesses with respect to the quality and treatment of news and current affairs operations’.
“Despite his seniority, the officer continues to be the source of indiscipline and performance with respect to the quality and treatment of news and current affairs operations”.
“He instigates and or colludes with undesirable behaviour at BTV newsroom where he does as he pleases regardless of my instructions and decisions…,” says Kaboeamodimo.
Additionally, Jannie is also accused of disobeying orders from BTV manager, Bontle Mgotlhwane, on how to run the newsroom.
He is further accused of failing to account as well as overturning Kaboeamodimo on staff assignments and editorial matters.
The report states that, for example, Jannie recently aired a story involving President Ian Khama’s ill-fated mishap with a cheetah without official approval.
“On Sunday 9th June 2013, Mr Jannie overruled management with respect to a decision to embargo a news story involving His Excellency the President in HE’s engagements with wildlife at the Botswana Defense Force premises. This was in order to re-do a more complete picture of the issues to be reported on. At Mr Jannie’s unilateral instance the story was aired on Btv news deficient as it was.”
The brawl with Jannie also goes beyond the fight over what should and should not be aired on BTV. He is also being blamed for another officer’s failure to report for duty in Kasane.
He is alleged to have been absent from work without leave on at least two occasions. The report also demonstrates that personal vendetta between Jannie and his supervisors might be at play.
“Mr Jannie is simply on a frolic of his own and seems to believe that he is accountable to no one but to himself. He takes advantage of situations whenever convenient to his personal interests to project management as weak and lacking in control,” states Kaboeamodimo’s report.
He is accused of doing as he pleases.
“He has demonstrated this on more than one occasion with respect to his dealings with the Botswana Football Association where he has apparently been appointed Media Officer without the sanction of his employer let alone consultation, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – a group that is known to be publicly disparaging of Botswana Government,” states the report.
The report confesses that, because of the bad blood, management excludes him from key issues because he is stubborn.
“My management and I have made all efforts to engage with Mr Jannie with the view to correcting his behaviour, to no avail. The result of all this is that we are forced to exclude him from issues in which he should otherwise take part. We are at the same time forced, much against logic, to involve him on issues while we know very well that he will create difficulty and or failure,” the report further states.
High Court judge Tebogo Tau is expected to rule whether Jannie’s suspension from work following this report has been lawful.