Following our front-page story last week on Minister Mokaila, his alleged ‘sexploits’ exposed on facebook have indeed become ‘The Talk of the Town.’
Just mentioning ‘Pitsane’ and ‘silly’ has in itself become an indirect reference to the reported text messages said to have been sent from the Minister to a female friend.
In order to find out the views of fellow MP’s and community leaders,we asked the question:‘Do you think that being an MP/leader comes with a moral duty to behave responsibly and act in a way that serves as an example to others, or should ones private life have no bearing on ones public duty?’
These were some of the responses we received.
WHO IS TO JUDGE?
MP for Nata- Gweta Reina Makosha said: “You cannot hang someone before establishing the truth or lack thereof and for that reason I wouldn’t want to comment on the issue you are alluding to.
But generally speaking all parents have a moral duty to behave in an exemplary manner, be they holders of public office or not, because charity as they say begins at home. I cannot be a judge on morality because even when Jesus talked about the woman who was caught in adultery, he said that only the one without sin could cast the first stone.
The other thing the public need to realise is that before God all sins are equal, there is no little sin or big sin, but yes leaders be at home or in the office should be mindful of the society they live in and recognise that they do have a moral responsibility towards those that they are leading.”
WE HAVE RELINQUISHED OUR RIGHT TO TOTAL PRIVACY
Wynter Molotsi, MP for Francistown South said: “As public office holders MP’s and Ministers should have a moral duty to behave responsibly and act in a way that serves as an example to others.
We are parents and above that whether we like it or not we are role models to many, especially young people who look up to us and might want to be like us, so how can we not expect to be held morally responsible.
MP’s and Ministers should realise that the moment we put ourselves out there and campaigned for public office to a certain extent we relinquished our right to total privacy.
I mean, my conscience cannot allow me to say its okay for us to be left alone as political leaders to do as we please morally without being held responsible.”
WE MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Anna Motlhagodi from the BCP said: “We must go back to the former Vice President Mompati Merafhe and The President Ian Khama’s observations not too long ago that there was a need for moral regeneration in our country.
If our political leadership right at the top has recognised that our society is characterised by a moral degeneration and there was a need for regeneration, it follows therefore that all other political leaders, MPs and ministers included must lead by example.
Young people watch their leaders and emulate them so no leader should think they can get away with the do as I say and not as I do approach.”
WE HAVE A MORAL DUTY
Assistant minister of Local government Botogile Tshireletso said” Yes, political leaders should definitely have a moral duty to behave responsibly and their private lives should no doubt have a bearing on their public duty.
They should especially be held responsible if their immoral activities were to become public.
What should happen to them in such incidences should then depend on whether they take necessary steps to clear their names successfully or not.
WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO
Spencer Mogapi, Sunday standard Deputy Editor and columnist said:
A friend of mine who went to a law school likes to say “law has no reason to concern itself with trivialities.”
There is no doubt that leaders have a moral responsibility to be exemplary in both their private as well as public lives.
The difficult question is to decide on is where as a nation we draw a line between a minister’s private and public life.
What is however important is to note that not every alleged mischief on the part of a minister is a resigning matter. If upon being found out and on their own they decide to resign we should welcome their resignation as it invariably raises the moral bars of the standards against which we can hold all our other leaders.
But on the issue at hand, it would seem to me like the whole furore centres around what was a private conversation between two consenting adults. More importantly, it is not clear to me if the act happened, or if it happened it was the first or not.
But if he is married and has kids, then my heart goes out not to him but to those other people in his life. It certainly must be a harrowing experience to learn of a husband’s or a father’s sexual exuberances on facebook.
There are lessons to be learnt, one of which is that as a nation we may have to go back to basics in our public education on the fight against HIV/AIDS.
And our first target may have to be the country’s top political leadership. Certainly we have a long way to go.”
DIFFERENT LEADERS HAVE DIFFERENT ROLES
Tati East MP Samson Guma Moyo holds the view that community leaders have a moral obligation to behave in a manner that befits their status.
Responding to The Voice survey this week, Moyo said community leadership is broad as leaders in the society have specific roles to play in accordance with their portfolio. Moyo, who has been tipped to be the next Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairperson, said lawmakers play a totally different role in society in comparison to pastors, councillors and dikgosi.
The former assistant Finance and Development Planning Minister said MPs as legislators have a moral obligation to ensure that the constitution of the country is respected.
“Community leaders all have specific roles to play in the society,” he said, adding that people in charge of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Ditshwanelo Centre for Human Rights and Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) are duty bound to behave in a certain way that fully represents their organizations.
“When approaching a pastor on issues of promiscuity, one is expected to quote certain chapters and verses in the Bible that prohibits the subject of promiscuity,” said the MP.
He said community leaders should not all be viewed in the same context because they play different roles in society. He said those chosen to fight against the escalation of HIV/AIDS in the country should lead within the context they preach.
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