STATEMENT: The Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union (BOMAWU) have noted with concern a series of unwarranted attacks on journalists that has been launched by the opposition party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) through its newly elected President, Mr. Sidney Pilane.
Mr. Pilane’s newly found addiction of attacking journalists became publicly visibly first at his party’s bloody congress that was held in Bobonong village in July 2017. During the post July 2017 congress media interviews, Mr. Pilane and his party continued with their onslaught attacks on members of the fourth estate and extended the bully behavior even at the most recent congress that was held in Lobatse over the past weekend.
It was at the Lobatse congress where Mr. Pilane is on record threatening and expressing his wishes to harm journalists. BOMAWU wishes to make it clear that it takes very serious the BMD President’s threats including that of “bombing” the offices of The Voice Newspaper.
At the same time, the Union is also equally concerned and is aware of the utterance that Mr.Pilane made against one of our members Cde Utlwanang Gasennelwe of The WeekendPost newspaper. During one of his post Lobatse congress interview that he gave Gabz FM this Tuesday, Mr. Pilane singled out Cde Gasennelwe, unnecessarily so - an act which we believe has since put the life of our comrade in danger. Should anything happen to Cde Gasennelwe, the Union will have no option but to look up to Mr.
Following these series of unwarranted behavior towards journalists by the BMD, through its leader, the Union, On 5th December 2017 came to a conclusion that we are at a point where it would be inappropriate for the media to continue engaging politicians like Mr. Pilane and his party who openly show their disregard for freedom of expression, which is a fundamental precondition for the existence of a democratic society.
The Union has therefore, with the support and endorsement of the Editors Forum decided to place a moratorium, with IMMEDIATE EFFECT on coverage of ALL activities of the BMD until and after the party, through its leader issues a public apology to the media precisely to the journalists whose lives he has since put in line.
The Union, together with the Editors Forum wishes to caution all political parties to refrain from this unacceptable conduct and assures that it will have no option but to extend the same gesture to any political organisation that stand on the way of journalists as they do their noble job.
We hope Mr. Pilane cooperate and issue a public apology as we hereby demand.
A luta Continua....
Secretary General – BOMAWU Gaborone, Botswana