Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BCPYL) is disturbed, angered and utterly disappointed by the arrest of one of Botswana’s finest journalists and freedom of expression fighters Outsa Mokone. The BCPYL views his arrest and the reported hunt for another senior journalist Edgar Tsimane as a blatant attack on freedom of expression in particular press freedom.
Tsimane is said to have sought political asylum in South Africa.
The arrest of Mokone and the hunt for Tsimane should be seen through a political lens and against the backdrop of Botswana’s authoritarian state. This detention and the charges laid against Mokone seek to address political questions and serve political expediency of President Ian Khama’s administration.
The criminal legal proceedings have been instituted by the government to solidify its power, subjugate the media and cow it into submission. While taking place in a courtroom, Mokone’s trial has little to do with justice or the rule of law and instead serve to promote the credo of those holding the reins of power.
This harassment of journalists will attract unnecessary world attention and further ruin Botswana’s waning reputation.
A strong democracy depends on information and knowledge provided by the press.
The greater the people’s knowledge the more astutely they can select their representatives in government at all levels, and the better they hold them accountable and guide their decisions.
The league is of the opinion that these dastardly attacks on the media are an attempt by Khama’s government to limit freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and press freedom ahead of the 24th October General Elections.
We condemn the arrest of Mokone and call for his unconditional release and the withdrawal of the flimsy charges slapped against him.
Yours in freedom