Media 'ombudsman' defends his post

Staff Writer
Former Metropolitan Insurance boss Nathan Kgabi says his appointment to chair the Media Complaints Committee was not influenced by his membership of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

A row has erupted between Sunday Standard deputy editor Spencer Mogapi and Kgabi. Mogapi contends that Kgabi is not competent to sit on the committee because he is a BDP activist.

Mogapi says that Kgabi's presence on the committee does not inspire confidence. He says that journalists cannot be expected to recognise the committee as a professional body when a well-known BDP activist like Kgabi chairs it.

"He is bound to be partisan," Mogapi said in an interview with Mmegi.

"Why choose a BDP member?" he said, adding that there are many Batswana who are not affiliated who can sit on the committee.

"Couldn't the minister find someone else who is not a BDP member?" he asked. For his part, Kgabi confirmed that he is a BDP member, but does not understand why Mogapi is branding him a BDP activist when he has never participated in BDP activities for close to a decade.

"I am not an activist, if you ask me whether am a member of the BDP, I can confirm that am a member of the BDP when it comes to activism I don't know what he means," said Kgabi.

He said that from his knowledge he was appointed because of his credentials adding that he had participated in developing the private

media in Botswana. "If anything I consider myself a media activist," said Kgabi. He said that in any event there was nothing wrong in being a BDP member

He said that he had a wealth of experience in adjudication as he started his career as an industrial relations officer. He said that judges, civil servants and others had a right to political affiliation adding that what was important is his abilities. Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi also defended Kgabi's appointment as the chairperson of the Media Complaints Committee.

"I don't think he is active in any BDP committee unless I am wrong," she said in an interview with Mmegi yesterday. She said that she could never appoint a party functionary to serve in such a committee and further agued that the selection processes to fill posts on the complaints and Appeals committees did not take into account members' political affiliation.

"We made an advert for people to volunteer," she said.

Venson-Moitoi has appointed Kgabi, Sethunya Makepe, a Human Resources and Industrial Relations consultant, Director of Public Relations at Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) Mookodi Seisa, lawyer Bonzo Makgalemela, University of Botswana archaeology lecturer Dr Alinah Segobye, BDPA employee Seamogano Mosanako to the Complaints Committee.



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