At least three Radio Botswana journalists were summoned to the Office of the President yesterday for a grilling because they granted airtime to Sidney Pilane, the spokesman of the newly formed Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).
Mmegi is reliably informed that Thuso Letlhoma, Ketirele Matlhape and Sakaeyo Jani were summoned to the seat of power to explain 'a few things' and why they should not face disciplinary action for airing the live interview.
The interview was followed by a phone-in programme in which callers were asked what their feelings were about the new party and whether multiplication of parties in Botswana was going to benefit the country in any way. The splinter party from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) party was formed recently after some members felt the BDP, under President Ian Khama, is no longer the party they have known for decades. It is understood that all state media organs - RB1, RB2, Botswana Television (Btv) and Daily News - have been instructed not to publish or air anything about the new party.
State media were brought under the OP immediately
Recently, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Lesego Motsumi told Parliament that the move was meant to curb anarchy at the state media. She said that there was no order and "Gone go itirelelwa fela" and the OP wanted to bring order. Meanwhile in reaction to reports that government radio journalists were summoned to OP, the Director of Broadcasting Services, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo said that people have a tendency of reading too much into issues.
He said that he had a scheduled meeting with Motsumi yesterday to discuss various departmental matters as they always do as and when necessary.
"I had a scheduled consultation with the minister that I had requested as head of department. I am not in a position to say what the meeting was about," he said.