The Botswana Democratic Party calls upon the Patriot to retract and set the record straight on its July 06, 2014 story “Khama’s bicycle route upgraded at P54 m”. The story is without substance and carries malicious insinuations that seem calculated to damage the good name of our President.
While it is true that the road has been upgraded, and while it is a great thing that the road was actually upgraded, the Patriot intentionally sought to find something malicious to write about this development. Instead of celebrating the vision of the Ministry responsible for refurbishing the road using the most appropriate techniques, the paper goes off tangent to draw conclusions that are baseless, falsehoods actually, to say the road was so done because it is the President’s preference to cycle on it.
Subsequent to this mischievous article, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has made it clear “that upon noticing the abnormal longitudinal cracks on the Boatle-Mmakgodi road the Ministry engaged the University of Botswana Physics Department to carry out a detailed study on the development of the cracks and come up with detailed analysis which would guide remedial measures to take”.
The Ministry notes that “the University conducted a seismic reflection, refraction and ground penetrating radar imaging (GPR) of the road base at km 17. The research findings showed serious disruption to the road bed and that surface cracks persist to a depth of at least 5m. It also profiled a seismic refraction of a deeply weathered section to a depth of 20m”.
Given this state of affairs, and expert opinion on this road, the Ministry decided to ‘reconstruct the section where the cracks are pronounced and to incorporate a Tensar Traix 160 geogrid (Geo-membrane) to stop the cracks developing upwards and exposing the underlying layers to the elements. It was also decided that continuously grading with medium asphalt layer would be done in order to minimize the ingression of water to the underlying layers’.
Unless the Patriot mistakes slanderous insinuations for good journalism, we request they retract their story and then publish the Ministry’s response. We take it that the Patriot, like us, is a firm believer in the ideals of fairness and freedom of expression. If they so believe then, they will duly apologize to the readers in general, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, members of the BDP and indeed His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana for a misleading and potential libellous article.
In future, the Patriot must refrain from unsubstantiated, excited, sensationalist headlines and stories as these have the potential to unfairly injure the professional integrity and reputation of others. The Patriot surely will agree that they are not road engineers nor are they experts in geological or seismic activity. Thus, unless they can substantiate the insinuation of the money spent as not being appropriate, and that it was for the President’s convenience and indeed mere preference that this road was done, they should publish a full retraction. This we demand in the light of the falsehoods and malicious interpretations carried by the paper.