The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) used controversial journalist Daniel Kenosi in its dirty tricks campaign in the run up to the 2014 elections, Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
Sunday Standard investigations have uncovered confidential e-mail communications between Kenosi and BDP Publicity lady Roselyn Panzirah revealing how the BDP paid Kenosi thousands of pula to use his controversial Face book page and Paparazzi.com webpage in its election campaign.
The shady deal is believed to have been endorsed by President Khama and Vice President Tshelang Masisi then chairman of the BDP Publicity Committee.
The e- mail communication between Panzirah and Kenosi reveals that Kenosi billed the BDP up to P18, 000 a week for advertising the party’s campaign material on his website and Face book page, (Daniel Dan Kenosi) as well as personally endorsing the party on the same page, which boasts over 75, 000 followers. In his personal Face book page (Daniel D Kenosi) has 4999 friends.
Panzirah, who was the spark plug lady in the BDP electioneering was also the party link person in the ”War Room” that had been set up at Tsholetsa House by Timor Consulting, a company with alleged links to Israeli spy network Moosad. Timor Consulting was engaged by the BDP to help in the election campaign.
Among opposition politicians who were targeted in the BDP dirty tricks campaign was Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Gabane ÔÇô Mankgodi Member of Parliament, Pius Mokgware.
On September 28th 2014, Kenosi posted a story on his Face book page, linked to his Papparazi.com website, in which he claimed that General Pius Mokgware, then an Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate for Gabane-Mankgodi, had begged for forgiveness from President Ian Khama after spreading rumours of a hit list. The post also claimed that a remorseful Mokgware evaded lawsuits from President Khama and the BDP by admitting that he lied about the hit list.
“Sources close to Tsholetsa House have disclosed that Mokgware, who was faced with lawsuits from the president and BDP begged and cried before the president for mercy…..I have never seen an old man crying and begging like that,” read some snippets from the story.
Sunday Standard is in possession of e-mail communication sent from the e-mail [email protected] on October 4, 2014 to [email protected]┬á at 09:56am. The subject of the e-mail was “quotation for adverts,” and the e-mail was addressed to the BDP headquarters. Attached on the e-mail was a quotation for “placing of adverts on face book page and Papparazinews.co.bw”.
The grand total on the quotation was P22, 400 and it was prepared by: Daniel Kenosi on 03/10/2014.
Another e-mail was sent from [email protected] still to [email protected] on 4 October 2014 at 09:57am, subject “adverts schedule.”┬á The Attachment on the e-mail indicated that the adverts schedule was for the period 04 October to 23 October 2014.
In the e-mail, Kenosi indicated that all adverts would be put up on both Papparazinews.co.bw and his face book page from 8am to 5pm every day.
“At 8am I will put up a video advert. At 1pm I will place a pictorial advert only and I will wrap up the day at 5pm with a video advert accompanied by a write up message,” wrote Kenosi on the e-mail.
He further explained that he would place five adverts on his Face book page and Papparazinews.com website over the 21 days period. The adverts will feature material on the Presidential Housing Appeal, job creation, Youth Development Fund (YDF), ISPAAD and Limid.
“I will put up all the adverts on the last (21st) day. If the BDP may so wish to put any different available adverts at any given time, space will be availed,” said Kenosi on the e-mail.
On August 14, 2014, Kenosi posted a picture of himself with Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, then Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, posing at Tsholetsa House with Masisi wearing BDP colours and his arm on Kenosi’s shoulder. The two were laughing heartily. The post received over 155 likes and the same number of comments.
A similar picture was posted on August 29, still with Masisi at Tsholetsa House, but then serving as Acting Minister of Education. Kenosi wrote on the post: “Shame, my friend Masisi is under attack on RB1. Has he credited your allowance yet?” At the time Masisi was also serving as chairman of the BDP’s Culture and Publicity Committee.
The picture of Kenosi and Masisi returned again on September 22 2014, attracting close to 90 likes and numerous comments.
On October 15, Kenosi posted a BFP video titled “Taking Botswana forward”, detailing how the party had created thousands of jobs for Batswana and promising to carry Botswana forward by creating even more jobs if re-elected into power. The video attracted 2055 views, close to 50 likes and over 40 comments. At around the same time, the BDP was still reeling from a humiliating scandal after a recording of Masisi was leaked to the media. In the recording, Masisi outlined some of the BDP’s campaign strategies, which included using pseudo Face book accounts to attack BDP critics. The behind closed doors meeting was reportedly attended by BDP heavyweights like President Khama, Botsalo Ntuane, BDP campaign manager Alec Seametso,┬áSecretary General Mpho Balopi. In the leaked tape, Masisi vowed to plant moles to help destroy the private media.
Kenosi returned with his BDP campaign on October 17th 2014, posting another video titled “How BDP eradicates poverty.” One of the commentators in the video testified how the BFP “chased” poverty from her home. The video received over 1,565 views. Another video went on Kenosi’s wall on October 22, this time featuring President Khama addressing multitudes at the BDP star rally in Maharaj. Kenosi prefaced the video with the following words” Taking Botswana forward. O ka re tshepa. Vote BDP. Secure your future.” The video enjoyed 2,600 views, over 44 shares and over 80 likes.
On October 23rd, a day before the elections, Kenosi posted a personal video on his wall with a message “Be smart. You are young and smart. Please do what smart people do, take Botswana to the next level. Vote BFP. Tsholetsa Domkrag.”
Sunday Standard is also in possession of an invoice delivered to the BDP and received by one Onaya M. Mothalawapitse. The invoice has a “received” stamp from the BDP, dated 20th October. The invoice was for a grand total of P20, 160 in favour of Tlotso Creations (Pty) LTD, account number 1352926560701, Fairgrounds. It was addressed to the BDP for advertising on Papparazenews.com. The cell numbers on the Tlotso creations stamp all belong to and are currently used by Kenosi.
According to Botswana Police Service Public Relations Officer, Christopher Mbulawa, Kenosi was arrested on Tuesday 24th March 2015 after appearing for mention at Gaborone Magistrate court on two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and failure to stop and report an accident contrary to Road Traffic Act. Apparently these offences were committed on September 28th 2014.
He was then later arrested following investigations in a case of unlawful distribution of pornographic or obscene material contrary to section 16 of the Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes Act.
Kenosi is also facing a criminal defamation charge contrary to section 192 of Penal Code in Francistown and a warrant of his arrest was issued by Francistown Magistrate court. Kenosi is currently out on bail. Contacted for comments, Kenosi would not discuss his dealings with the BDP.