On the third day of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) strike, Mmegi journalists, Karabo Sename and Patricia Maganu, say they were assaulted by union members who accused them of being agents of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) with a mission to spy on the Union.
Sename told the Sunday Standard in an interview that the ordeal began when they went to take some photographs of the strikers and a mob of strikers advanced towards them chanting words that they were from the DIS.
“I wanted to take a picture of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) politician, Vain Mamela, who was giving a speech to the strikers and the members demanded to know who we were and assaulted us, saying that we should be from the DIS,” he said.
Sename added that although there was a member of the Union who tried to calm down the mob and explain that the two were from the media, the mob pushed them and the two reporters sought refuge in the hands of the strike marshals who escorted them to their vehicle where they managed to escape. Sename went on to add that what baffles him is that the mob knew him before as he was introduced and took photographs a day before during the second day of the strike.
“We opened a case with the Kutlwano Police in Francistown and I believe the investigations are ongoing,” he said.
Mmegi Staff Reporter, Patricia Maganu, also confirmed to the Sunday Standard that she indeed suffered the same fate.
Maganu says that she was assaulted, humiliated and insulted by members of the Unions.
Time Moupi, leader of BOFEPUSU Francistown branch, confirmed to the Sunday Standard that he is aware of the fact that one of the journalists was assaulted because he refused to identify himself as demanded by the union. He could not confirm or deny if the case is with the Police.
Efforts to reach Kutlwano Police for confirmation were futile as the Station Commander and his assistant were not in office at the time of going press.