Monday, September 28, 2020

Identical mix up involving two ?Samuel Moribames?

All his life Samuel Ntshieng Moribame, who works as Director of Public Affairs at the University of Botswana, has never touched politics with a barge pole but lately he finds himself having to field questions about his political activity.

?I don?t have any interest in politics. I have never addressed a political rally and I have never made a political statement,? Moribame says.

It is Samuel Moladelo Moribame in the Bobirwa constituency who addresses political rallies and makes political statements.

By virtue of having a higher public profile, the Moribame at UB, who previously worked for Radio Botswana, is the one whom a majority of news consumers immediately think of when they hear mention of the name in a political connection.

Last weekend, Moribame the politician was part of a political rally in Sefhophe that reportedly booed vice president Ian Khama.

A helicopter circled a Botswana Congress Party rally in the village and Samuel Moladelo later told a local weekly: ?It was only when he was about to leave Sefhophe that he paid an unexpected visit to our rally. We could see through the helicopter window that it was the vice president Khama.?

The story came out last Thursday and on that day alone, Samuel Ntshieng Moribame says that he received about 20 calls from ?shell-shocked? relatives and friends.

One of those who called was Moribame?s relative whom he identifies only as ?a senior person in a parastatal organization.?

He asked Moribame if he had seen the paper and as the relative spoke, Moribame says that he could tell from his voice that he was really concerned.

A midweek paper editor also told him later that someone had enquired from him: ?So Sam has left UB for politics??

A variation of that question, addressed directly to Moribame by somebody else was: ?Really Sam; you mean you left UB just to go into politics??

Moribame reckons that he started getting that reaction from people about five years ago, which is when Sam Moladelo got knee-deep into politics.
Apparently, some section of the student body was under the impression that the varsity?s director of public affairs was also a politician.

On that basis, Moribame was a defendant in a court of injustice convened by the Student Representative Council three years ago.

The charge was that he had joined politics and was in the habit of publicly making political statements without consulting students.

Like all defendants, Moribame got a big laugh out of the whole circus show and duly paid the money he was fined.

However, outside the SRC?s court of injustice, the issue became serious.

Having initially ignored being confused with someone else, Moribame decided to act to set the record straight after the Sefhophe incident.

?I have been avoiding this for some years hoping that the issue will sort itself out but a friend of mine tells me that one of the unwritten common sense rules is that until an issue is fully addressed you can?t simply wish it away,? Moribame says.
The confusion, he adds, arises from what he considers to be mistaken identity.

?Actually it is a question of 100 percent same name identity, call it a namesake. There is another Samuel Moribame, perhaps in Selebi Phikwe or Francistown. I can?t be so sure but he is likely to be based in the north of Botswana. He is a politician and is often quoted in the media when performing his political functions and some people thought it was me and consequently identified his political activities or views wholesale with me. I must make it abundantly clear that Samuel Moribame is his legitimate name just as much as Samuel Moribame is my legitimate name. That is not an issue at all here.

?I just thought people should know that we share the same name but we are two separate individuals so that I don?t continue to get a barrage of calls, some from anxious persons, each time there is a comment of a political nature in the media attributable to that name but not originating from me. I hope this matter is now put to rest as it should,? Moribame says.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.