Against all reason Communications, Science and Technology Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is hell-bent on introducing the discredited Media Practitioners Bill.
By the time you read this, the minister will have notified Parliament about her intention to introduce the controversial bill for debate. At a time when the bill has elicited such controversial debate the minister is acting rather out of turn. What is even more worrying is that she is using tax pay's resources to dupe the public by giving them a sanitized and highly partisan view of what this monstrous bill is about. The honourable minister goes around the country to Kgotla meetings telling people that there is sinister about the bill while she fully knows that there is. Minister Moitoi knows that media practitioners are opposed to the bill and we expect her to at least be honest and tell the public that there is strong opposition to her hastily concocted totalitarian bill. If the minister is a democrat who believes in consultations as we think, we expected her to travel to these Kgotla meetings with a representative of the media in order to give the public a complete picture on a bill that will have long term effects. Otherwise the motive of the minister looks suspect, if not outright insidious.
We are worried that Venson-Moitoi has descended to desperate depths in her spin. On Monday, she single-handedly participated in Radio Botswana's Liveline Programme to explain to listeners her position on the bill. It was a complete torture listening to the minister in her barren attempt to subject media practitioners to the tyranny of some gullible radio callers. It is even a shame that professionals at Radio Botswana could be used to broadcast such a programme. Even if the issue was less contentious, Radio Botswana managers
As the Minister of Communications, Venson-Moitoi should be sensitive to issues of balance, particularly as they relate to media houses that fall under her docket and on matters where she has a particular interest.
On Tuesday morning during Masa-a-sele programme, she was at it again. After the phone-in programme had ended and all lines closed, the minister was allowed to sneak in to have the last word. Even though the programme had ended, her call was accepted on the excuse that she had been cut. Why is Venson-Moitoi doing this?
The minister should appreciate that even though she has allowed herself to be used as a hired gun to serve undemocratic forces in her crusade to put the media on a tight leash, she should at least accept that decency demands that she should not use the state media to wage war against the peoples' hard fought democratic gains. History will remember that when Botswana was moving forward, there was a Venson-Moitoi who derailed the march towards greater freedom of expression.
I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.
- Robert E. Lee