The canning of Matlhoaphage, the popular Sunday political magazine program that used to air on Botswana Television (BTV) before the 29th June 2015 continues to be a hot topic of contention riling opposition members.
The last episode of the program aired on the 28th of June 2015. Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale explained in parliament late last week that Matlho-a-phage like any other current affairs television program at BTV is under review.
Molale stated that current affairs programs “are being reviewed as part of a continuous improvement effort, in which we periodically review all content showed on Botswana Television in order to improve our programming and I must say that having concluded that process, we have realised that it requires some funding.”
He continued to state: “we are therefore going to be budgeting for that for the coming financial year; therefore the bulk of improvements will be budgeted for that for the 2017/2018 financial year.” Molale also added that it will also determine if there is need to feature political parties as part of the overall programming.
Molale also denied an assertion made by Member of Parliament for Francistown South constituency, Wynter Mmolotsi that BTV has become ‘Tsholetsa Television’ as for two consecutive days recently; three different BDP activities were broadcast albeit without any opposition newsreel showing at the time.
He stated that BTV is a national television that broadcasts all activities. Responding to a parliamentary question on the production costs for Matlho-a-phage and an alternative to the canned program, Molale shot back: “The issue at hand here is reviewing of programs as an effort to continuously improve what our customers demand, including political customers, and I have not said we have canned Matlho a Phage indefinitely.
I said as part of that programming, it will determine whether we require continuing with it or not? Unfortunately I cannot give any figures here madam speaker that is another issue that we can provide.”
Asked how BTV is ensuring a plurality and diversity of views without Matlho-a-phage, Molale shot back: “It is the choice given the circumstances under which the review is being done that determines whether we terminate or we continue with the review whilst the program is running.
In this instance, we found it prudent to terminate temporarily the program. Secondly, as I said, BTV airs a whole host of program the whole day, and therefore we have quite a diverse and demanding audience.”
Therefore, that is what warranted the need for this review, and I cannot with any degree of certainty say that program will be brought back or not, but for your information, what we are doing is that some of the popular programs on BTV are youth programs, and that is why we are opening together in collaboration with my neighbor(Thapelo Olopeng), a second BTV channel so that probably will give space to other programs that probably you need more than any other that will be aired on BTV 1.”
On another matter related to BTV, Molale also acknowledged receiving a petition from opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change. Molale however refused to disclose what action he has taken or will take, only stating, “I have said, and I shall repeat that, I have noted the contents therein and that is what I can say because the question was what I have done about the issue. I have noted it.”
When probed again, he went further: “I know what I do in my Ministry and when I receive whatever that I receive from my clients, my customers, I do note it and act as and when that compels me to do. So I say I have noted that and that is what I can say, whether anybody alleges that I am irresponsible, it is up to them, it is their own opinion but I have taken note of the contents of the petition.”
Sometime in June this year, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kebonye Moepeng told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the station’s decision makers at times cancel production of some programs to make way for others saying that she was not aware of any academic papers and even complaints by political parties that informed such decisions. She however said that sometimes people complain to BTV staff about the quality of its programming.
Moepeng however responded that she is quite happy and impressed with the broadcaster’s content and said that a recent study by Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has rated it high. Meanwhile, Committee member and MP for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse shredded the quality of State broadcaster Botswana Television (BTV) describing it as apathetic.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.