As the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama and his brother the President Ian Khama enjoyed red carpet treatment at the recent ITB 2017 tourism fest, offices of his ministry went without water and phone connections due to unpaid bills.
Detention and harassment of journalists investigating the construction of the president’s holiday home
Botswana security agents on Wednesday afternoon briefly detained and threatened to kill three journalists from INK Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit journalism outlet based in Botswana. The detention which occurred in the central part of Botswana appears to be an effort to intimidate and harass independent media in a country lauded as the shining example of democracy in Africa. Seven armed plain clothes security agents on quad bikes and SUVs barred the journalists near Mosu village, some 600kms north eastern Gaborone and warned them never to “set foot” near President Ian Khama’s private compound or risk death.
“Outsiders have a general perception of Botswana as a free, open, and democratic country. But there has been noticeable regress in freedom of speech and expression under President Ian Khama,” INK Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Managing Partner Joel Konopo tells Pen America.
Investigative journalist, Sonny Serite is now a free man after the Directorate on Public Prosecution dropped charges against him upon realizing that there were no grounds for prosecution.
The Lobatse high court will soon hear a bizarre sedition case against a prominent Botswana newspaper editor, which is damaging the country’s standing as a bastion of democracy and media freedom in Africa.