MP Lucas Decries Btv Snub


Bobonong legislator, Taolo Lucas has come out with guns blazing against the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) administration after he was denied coverage by state broadcaster Botswana Television (Btv).

Lucas expressed shock after both the Btv Setswana and English Friday bulletins omitted his presentation at Kgotla meetings held at Mabolwe and Semolale in his constituency. The meetings were hosted by President Mokgweetsi Masisi along with some ministers and senior government officials. Lucas, who has on more than one occasion bemoaned failure by the public broadcaster to cover his events, is aggrieved that he was snubbed in his own constituency. “When Btv reported the President's address in the two villages, they decided to feature Minister [of Defence, Justice and Security] Kagiso Mmusi and Specially Elected legislator and Assistant Minister for Agriculture Beauty Manake who hails from this part of the country. I was not covered in that bulletin. Surely my exclusion was inappropriate from whatever angle you seek to look at it.

As MP for the area, I was the host and for all intents and purposes an embodiment of the aspirations of the constituents who elected me into office. I, as MP, best appreciate and I am better able to articulate the concerns of my constituency,” he said. Lucas said his exclusion is not only disrespectful towards the people who voted for him, but also a serious affront to the principles of representative democracy. “For Btv to spite me in favour of some 'specially elected' MP borders on insult. I was not at all surprised by the turn of events as I have suffered a similar fate before. Masisi's administration has no integrity. Deceit, deception, pettiness and delinquency are abounding in their modus operandi,” he said.

On why he thought he was left out, Lucas said he thinks he was courteously assertive in his response and like a host, he made the President and his team comfortable in their discomfort with a tinge of humour. He said it is only that the administration has grown arrogant and fearful of the ruled. From the clips shared by the legislator, he pleaded with security forces to intensify the protection of their livestock, which he said is being stolen by Zimbabwean border-jumpers. “They have been stealing our livestock for over 40 years crossing the border.

This has gotten very worse recently and farmers are now poor. The issue has been addressed, but it has never been enough. This is now a security situation that needs better interventions. Those stealing livestock do not get punished as much as wildlife. We urge the President to do something to protect the livestock,” he said. He also spoke about the lack of support for agricultural development, water shortage as well as delay in constructing a primary hospital and clinics in his constituency. Btv general manager Raymond Tsheko would not be dragged to comment. "I am not aware of the incident. He has not brought it to our attention, so it would be difficult to comment," he said. In 2017, the Ombudsman Augustine Makgonatsotlhe found that Btv has not lived up to its mandate but has unduly favoured the ruling party in their coverage of political events. “BDP was given 82% coverage against 18% of the combined opposition. That obviously resulted in injustice to other political parties and those with an interest in Botswana’s political sphere.

Btv’s coverage of political party activities does not meet the requirements of balance, equity and inclusiveness as set out under their mandate and guidelines,” Makgonatsotlhe wrote in his findings after an enquiry from the Botswana National Front vice president Reverend Prince Dibeela.

Editor's Comment
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