We have been told the Btv is working on a documentary on politics. It will be about intolerance in Botswana politics. There were comments on social media about the BCP participation in the program. I wish to state the facts around this issue and my participation.
I was called last week by Btv staff who informed me that they are working on a documentary that will address intolerance in Botswana politics and would like to have my views. I then requested that I be given examples of intolerance that could have motivated the documentary. I was informed that the first example was the conduct of the UDC youth at the Motswaledi memorial. My response was that I will not make any comments on the Motswaledi memorial service or the funeral itself. There is need to allow his family the space to mourn their departed child and an unending commentary cannot be in their interest to heal and recover from the loss.
I was then told that the second example on which they wish to have my comments relate to allegations of a "Hit List" by some in the opposition. In their view, this added to the atmosphere of intolerance. I brought it to the attention of the Btv staff that the BCP has never commented on the issue. We have never seen the hit list and those who say they are privy to the contents of the list have never shared any of the contents of the list with us. My advise to the reporter was for her to interview those who talk regularly about the hit list at their rallies as they will be more helpful.
The reporter then insisted that they would like to have my comments even if we do not touch on any of the examples they had wanted to use as reference points. In the interview, I stated that indeed, political intolerance is undesirable. The two examples of intolerance by the political leadership that I mentioned in the interview related to President Khama. It will be recalled that during the 2011 public sector strike, MPs sought audience with President Khama. His response was that he could only meet with the MPs provided that Hon. Nehemiah Modubule was not part of the delegation. This was outright intolerance.
The second example was when Hon. Habaudi Hubona was sworn as an MP in February of this year. President Khama decided to stay in the office of the Speaker for the duration of the swearing in formalities and only came into the House after the event. For other MPs like Bolele, Ngaka Ngaka, Tshekedi Khama and Molao who were sworn in after a by-election, he always made it a point to be in the House and was the first to congratulate them. This was yet another clear case of intolerance.
I hope that the documentary will be aired soon. Though it was a plot to try and set the BCP against the UDC whilst portraying the BDP as a holy and clean party, the strategy did not work. We must expect more dirty games by state institutions that have been historically used to promote the interests of the ruling party. My view is that we need to remain focused and present our proposals for a better Botswana to the voters. I am sure they will pass their fair judgement on 24 October.
Saleshando is the President of the Botswana Congress Party.