Ditshwanelo, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, notes with grave concern the unjustified criticism and attack of the organisation by clerics and politicians as reported in the Sunday Standard issue of Sunday 17 June 2012.
This follows an article that appeared in another local newspaper with an inaccurate and misleading headline that said: “Ditshwanelo defends Satanism”.
The organisation categorically denies that we said that “Satanism has to be allowed as a religion in Botswana” as was alluded to by the writer of the article.
Statements, such as “Ditshwanelo has warned that Satanism has to be allowed as a religion in Botswana, so long as it operates within Botswana’s moral values”, attributed to the organization are completely incorrect.
We find it regrettable that the organisation has received this barrage of attacks from people who know about the noble work of the organisation and we are disappointed by the fact that they did not call to seek clarification, which would have been freely given by the organization.
Ditshwanelo maintains that it is not affiliated to any religious movement and we do not know anything about the practice of Satanism, nor do we define it as a religion or endorse it.
Furthermore, the organization has never called for Satanism to be allowed as a religion in Botswana.
I did give an interview to the reporter of the article in question when he phoned to enquire about Ditshwanelo’s position on Satanism on the back of BMD youth leader saying that they are going to help the DIS Director, Isaac Kgosi, to fight Satanism.
I asked the reporter three questions which he did not answer: I asked him what Satanism was; how much he knew about it and if, indeed, Satanism exists.
He then told me that some people consider Satanism to be a religion.
My response to the reporter was that we could not give him any answer about Satanism since we do not know anything about it, and all I could give him was the organisation’s stand on religion as a whole.
While the organisation does not deny that we indeed said to the writer of the article that Ditshwanelo’s position on religion (KEYWORD-Religion) is that we stand to defend the rights of those who believe in their chosen religion, so long as it operates within Botswana’s moral and ethical values and is not in contravention of the country’s constitution, we were not in any way saying that we recognise Satanism as a religion nor advocating for it to be recognised as a religion in Botswana.
Ditshwanelo respects its relationship with the media but when such inaccurate and extremely misleading reports are made about the organisation we must seek prompt correction.