The Botswana Congress Party youth league Friday spat venom at the state media, accusing the institution of safeguarding and leveraging the interest of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party at the expense of the opposition parties ahead of national elections scheduled for October 16.
At an impromptu political meeting at Broadhurst market immediately after the party’s top youth leaders’ brief appearance at the Broadhurst court, the BCP youth league took a swipe at the management of Botswana television and Radio Botswana, arguing they were conniving with the ruling party in dragging the party’s good name in the mud.
BCP youth league president, Lotty Manyapetsa, and secretary general, Thato Osupile, are charged with breach of peace, with the state contending they stormed into the premises of Botswana television on August 9th, broke windows, resisted evacuation and thereof sparked commotion – allegations they vehemently deny.
“We have long realized the action by the state to charge BCP members is politically motivated ahead of the looming national elections and, as such, we have come here immediately after the court session to set the record straight to the public,” said Osipule.
“On the day in question, we went to Botswana television without any intention to do harm to anyone or to the institution itself. Ours was a humbly peaceful enquiry as to why the institution, which promised to cover our political meeting addressed by our president, would not show up. That we stormed into the area broke windows and caused some unrest in the institution is blatant lies cooked up to discredit our party in the eyes of the public.”
For a long time, opposition parties have complained of skewed coverage by the two state media houses, with the ruling party given much preference over other competing parties – a situation the BCP youth league argued prompted their visit to BTV premises.
The state media, however, has frequently denied such development arguing both political parties were at par when it comes to coverage.
At the helm of BCP youth league complaint are two Botswana television personalities of Mogomotsi Kaboyamodimo and Gloria Kgosi whom the party accuse of being BDP supporters, dancing to the party’s tunes.
Kaboyamodimo is the Director of Broadcasting Services, while Kgosi -whom it is alleged was present on the day in question but refused to dispatch the crew for coverage – heads the news desk.
“We all know these two are BDP supporters and employees under the guise of Botswana television employees. The truth has finally emerged because you can not all the time fool the people. They should come out in the open and declare themselves politicians and battle it out on freedom squares like anyone else,” argued Manyapetsa.
Kaboyamodimo stirred controversy lately when he read the president’s speech live on television on the issue of BDP factional bickering, which threatened to tear the party apart. Political analysts condemned the incident mainly because Kaboyamodimo is deemed apolitical, arguing that for him to dabble in politics raised eyebrows.
Earlier informing the court, the prosecution told Broadhurst magistrate, Nokothola Moyo, that they were through with investigations and thus more than ready to lock horns with the defence, represented by renowned senior counsel Dick Bayford.
The accused will appear again on February 8, 2010 while the trial date is scheduled for 26-27 April.
“We know they will not continue with the case next year. They are waiting for the elections to pass and thereafter abandon the case. This is just a ploy by the BDP to mislead the voters,” further argued Osupile.
“We therefore call on you to be vigilant with these unscrupulous politicians and to vote for the progressive BCP during these elections,” the youth secretary general added.