Monday, August 15, 2022

Telegraph columnist rubs Khama administration the wrong way

A newspaper article by The Telegraph columnist Sonny Serite has rubbed authorities the wrong way prompting the government to nudge his employers to rein in the outspoken columnist.
Last week Serite penned an article in The Telegraph titled “Khama’s presidency in one word:

Disaster.” The article has apparently angered the Khama’s administration so much so that the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs, Ponatshego Kedikilwe had to convene a meeting with Serite’s boss, Water Utilities Corporation acting CEO Godfrey Mudanga.

Serite works for WUC, which falls under Minister Kedikilwe’s line portfolio.

Part of the article that Serite wrote read: “Even though Khama never misses an opportunity to label other people power mongers, it was because of his hunger for power that he couldn’t resist or reject an offer to occupy the most powerful office in the land, a political appointment for that matter, yet he wants us to believe politics nauseates him…”.

A call centre agent at WUC, Serite told The Telegraph this week that he received a fatherly counseling from Minister Kedikilwe, but at the end made it clear to the minister that it was difficult for him to see a reason for an official apology.

Kedikilwe had told Serite that the article in question belittled the Head of State as its tone went beyond the dictates of freedom of expression.

“I told Rre Kedikilwe that I won’t apologise or retract any part of my article as I found nothing wrong with what I had written.

“I find nothing wrong with one exercising their democratic right to freely express their views about those who govern them in a country which when I last checked was a democracy. There is nothing in the article that suggests that the article was laced with vulgar or was disrespectful to the Head of State. Besides, the buck stops with the Editor,” Serite told The Telegraph this week.
Serite said Minister Kedikilwe asked him whether he would take kindly to the tone of the article if he were president himself to which Serite replied in the affirmative.

“Apart from being asked to apologise, both the CEO and the Minister gave me what I consider brotherly and fatherly advice and I take it that their meeting was not official,” Serite said. The fiery columnist said he was surprised that government had brought WUC into the matter as it has got nothing to do with his employer.

In separate instances the Press Secretary to the President, Sipho Madisa and the Chairperson of ruling party Sub Committee on Culture and Publicity, Shaw Kgathi have written letters to The Telegraph Editor responding to the same article. Both accuse Serite of lacking in “Botho.”
Shaw Kgathi is also Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Mudanga confirmed to The Telegraph that indeed he had had an audience with Minister Kedikilwe over Serite’s article.

“The Minister and I had an informal meeting about the article. I would not want to say anything further,” said Mudanga.

Minister Kedikilwe would not wish to be drawn into the matter. “Rra, I’m running a Ministry here. What I say to my employees is internal to my ministry. I would not want to discuss what I say to my employees with the media,” Kedikilwe told The Telegraph.


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