BDP’s propaganda war takes shape

SHARE   |   Sunday, 31 August 2014   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane
Pheto Pheto

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s media strategy to fight its critics pound for pound on various media platforms is said to have gained ground.

Some weeks back, communications chief of the BDP, Mokgweetsi Masisi was caught on tape in a secret meeting telling his party colleagues how they will manipulate media platforms especially social media, to launch a propaganda war.

In what others see as part of this propaganda offensive, a letter has been circulating in local newspapers making damning allegations about former BDP legislator Moeng Pheto. 

In the letter, Dintwe accuses Pheto of making absurd and bitter statements, after the latter allegedly revealed at his launch that President Ian Khama had offered him a diplomatic post in return for giving up his contest in the constituency. He said Pheto approached Khama and asked that Vincent Seretse be talked out of contesting the constituency which he referred to as ‘his’. "Pheto was recalled from Cape Town on civil service duty and from Local Government on civil service duty by Former President Festus Mogae and furthermore by President Ian Khama from the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs all due to extreme incompetence. Why would such a man be promised a diplomatic post?" said Dintwe.

Meanwhile Pheto has denied that he was recalled and charged that the letter is not the original work of the purported author, but emanates from the BDP top brass, who had already alerted him of the same after his launch in Lentsweletau last week. He said the letter is a clear demonstration of the desperation of the BDP leadership.

Pheto has said that Botswana is fast deteriorating into reaching dangerous times, as witnessed by recent political developments.

The Member of Parliament for Lentsweletau, accused the BDP of engaging in a dirty political campaign calculated to tarnish the image of opponents.

He said that he has long known about the strategy to remove him from Kweneng East way back in 2007. He said he was sent to Cape Town after he requested redeployment due to a working relationship which had collapsed with his boss, Khama. He also said he played a critical role in various in varioius ministries as a government official and as a minister.

Pheto said he is a victim of a smear campaign against those that do not agree with the BDP leadership as has been announced. "The leadership is in panic mode. We are reaching dangerous times. Those of us who are subjected to this torture and humiliation are in grave danger. We know these things because we know how the system works," said Pheto insisting that he is not afraid for himself but for the turn the country is taking.

Pheto also added that it is not surprising that members of the public have lost confidence in the current leadership as demonstrated by conspiracy theories surrounding the mysterious death of BMD president Gomolemo Motswaledi. "How can we as a nation have confidence in the leafdership when we can have such misinformation from the highest office in the land? They are disclosing and lying about the goings on at the office," he said. 

Contrary to Dintwe's claim that he has worked with Pheto, the latter said he does not know the young man. He said characters like Dintwe are being used by the powers that be to peddle lies and gossip. He even drops names of other vocal BDP activists who defected from the opposition saying they have been promised cabinet posts after elections. "It is a pity they allow themselves to be used. It's unfrotunate. Ba rongwa boloi," he said, calling on the media to be vigilant and not fall into the trap of being used to peddle untruths emanating from petty politicking. 
Called to corroborate some of the allegations he makes in the letter, Dintwe said some of the information is sensitive and he will have to get confirmation/ approval from its sources. Numerous attempts to meet Dintwe for an interview, as he requested, failed.