The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo has denied allegations that he motivated the indefinite suspension of the Botswana Television Head of News and Current Affairs, Sakaeyo Jannie.
Allegations were this week rife in the media that the former BTV boss was behind the veteran journalist’s suspension over the treatment of a story involving President Ian Khama and cheetahs recently.
It is alleged Kaboeamodimo had instructed Jannie to edit the story to the PS liking but Jannie defied his former boss instructions by showing the president walking among the dangerous predators before he got scratched by one.
The story is said to have upset Mogomotsi so much that he allegedly ordered the Director of Broadcasting Services, Lesole Obonye to slap Jannie with a suspension letter. The content of the letter only stated that Jannie was suspended for misconduct without clearly stating what he did.
Commenting on the allegations, Kaboeamodimo who was attending a meeting at the time responded with a short text message which read: “Obviously, that’s nonsense. It really is a sad state of lack of ethics that some in our media in Botswana continue to be in the habit of making ridiculous speculations on matters they know little or nothing about.”
Pressed further to confirm or deny that he wanted to stage the story to please the President, the Deputy Director responsible for government media said, “Of course I can’t comment on that. All I can tell you for a fact is that there was never ever any situation where we wanted to stage a news story. That is an act of irresponsible suggestion and it tarnishes the reputation of the medium that carried it.”
Meanwhile Jannie confirmed to The Voice that he has since been suspended on full pay. “I was given the letter of suspension but it didn’t state the charges explicitly. It just stated that I was suspended for misconduct. The matter is being handled by our union-BOPEU,” he said.
Jannie’s attorney Mboki Chilisa said he was waiting for further instruction from Jannie on the way forward. “The matter is with BOPEU and we are yet to finalise with him,” said Chilisa who could not be drawn into discussing his client ‘s plan of action.
The President of BOPEU, Andrew Motsamai could not be reached for comment as his phone rang unanswered.