In a recent letter written to this publication, a certain “Lieutenant” Letsholo purportedly from the Glen Valley Barracks has unleashed an onslaught of a deliberate attack on my person with a view to cause doubt on my credibility.
I had decided to ignore this attack because to me it is like a dog barking at a four tonne Simmental bull. Or in military terms that the spook would understand better, it is like firing on an A1- Abrams tank with small arms fire. It does not cause a dent.
Let’s face it, I am the first retired officer to join the media fraternity and this does not settle well with some of the people at BDF. In the past, the Commander has had a cordial dialogue with me on a certain article I authored about a certain unit that is responsible for special operations. I respected his view point on it and stopped writing any further about it. Of course this was to the frustration of my editor.
The Commander and his Deputy are honourable men and I would not want to associate them with such a letter that is aimed at denting the credibility of my person. However, I will take the head of Protocol and Public Affairs Colonel Tebo Dikole to task on this because he seems to be at stand-at-ease with this spook by way of lack of action. I challenge the Colonel to write an elaborate letter with his good command of the Queen’s language that we know him to master and disown this spook. Otherwise, I will regard this as an operation directed from his office.
Failure to act on this matter by the BDF will mean a declaration of war on all women, freedom of speech and upon my person as a media personnel. BDF has always been so quick to respond to the slightest of issues that affect them and one wonders why their PR office has adopted this silence. I am saying this from personal experience because during the reign of Colonel Baatweng, I was often tasked with drafting such responses and we kept a good distance from freedom of speech.
In 1989, an officer at BDF lost his job because he had written a letter to one of the Friday papers lambasting the then Deputy Commander. This behaviour of writing letters to the media has not been condoned under Colonel Pheto, Captain Christmas, Captain Poloko and Colonel Baatweng, all of whom I worked under. It is only now under the tutelage of Colonel Dikole that this behaviour seems to be rewarded.
The attack may seem to be directed at myself but in actual fact it is directed at freedom of expression and women as a gender subset of our population. My opinion column has not been an issue to the powers that be at BDF until I talked about the advancement of women at BDF. I have made comments on issues that were far more complex and very technical and that has never been anything of concern until I challenged BDF on gender issues.
For those of you who did not read my opinion that caused the controversy, my thesis on that opinion was getting a working affirmative action for women at BDF so that they can be catapulted into higher ranks where they can be placed into decision making positions. I am not surprised at getting attacks from a male dominated institution whose very foundations are challenged by the arrival of women. The ego of the macho man is under threat here if I promote gender equity in a place where it has been the male domain.
There is nothing that women in this country and around the world have been given as a right. They have fought for these rights. Women have a right to employment in all sectors of Government, including BDF. It is interesting that women in this country including those at BDF are still fighting for the right to be seated on chairs at funerals. Women in America have fought for the right to wear pants, to go to law school and medical school. That’s a fact.
I will not be intimidated in my writing and in fact I have had sterling encouragement in the way I write from several retired generals such as Major General Moeng Pheto, Major General Pius Mokgware, and Brigadier Iphemele ‘Ranger’ Kgokgothwane, all whom I have served under at BDF HQ before this spook who is now a staff officer arrived. And I proudly earned the Distinguished Service Medal adorned on me by the President himself. Promotion at BDF is not always a measure of merit, in my case a civilian from Mmankgodi was promoted over me.
Anyway, it is not about me because the attack is directed at the advancement of women. Women are never given their rights across the world, they fight for them. Aluta Continua!
Richard Moleofe is a Retired Military Officer (Distinguished Service Medal)