Sunday, July 12, 2009

Right of Reply to the Botswana Gazette by Mr.S.Q.Madisa,Dep.Sen.Private Secretary & Press Liaison Officer to the President: Khama did not hire Jet

source: Republic of Botswana (11/7/09) TAUTONA TIMES no 18 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline

D1b) Right of Reply to the Botswana Gazette by Mr. Sipho Qedindaba Madisa, Deputy Senior Private Secretary & Press Liaison Officer to the President: “KHAMA DID NOT HIRE JET”

The 8 July 2009 edition of your newspaper carried on its second page an article titled “Khama Hires Jet”, which included alleged responses by myself to your reporter that were certainly not uttered by me.

I am disappointed, to say the least, at such apparently unethical and unprofessional conduct and am at a loss as to why your reporter would rush to print an unverified article when he knew very well that his action was out of order given that he was still to be furnished with answers to his questionnaire, which had been delayed for reasons advanced to him. This is the sort of thing that leads one to suspect malice of intent.

I know respectable and credible journalists who play by the book and would never go out of their way to so misinform the public for reasons perhaps best known to themselves. They respect their profession and are governed by the media code of ethics. It is disturbing to note therefore that under seeming pressure to run a story your reporter broke ranks with established rules and inappropriately and improperly impressed upon the reading public untruths, by forcing words into my mouth.

For the record, His Excellency the President or the Office of the President did not charter an aircraft for the said state visit. Instead, what I can confirm is that the manufacturers of the expected presidential jet felt obliged to facilitate the state visit because of the inconvenience caused the Botswana Government.
This trip had long been planned for and Bombardier was privy to this background. All expenses were therefore incurred by Bombardier and Botswana Government did not spend a single thebe contrary to your allegations.

At no point during our discourse did the cost of charter ever arise. Instead, of particular note was the question on delivery which I answered as captured in the article under contention.

Furthermore, that the delayed delivery of the aircraft was “raking in a lot of money from Botswana as a result” is not true because, for the readers sake, the truth is there is a penalty fee for failure to deliver. That means, the total purchase price will be less the penalty fee to the day of delivery.

In this respect one can only wonder if truly there are any officials at the enclave who share the expenses sentiment as claimed, or is this a mere figment of imagination.

Members of the press, like others should show basic respect – that is do unto others as you would like them do unto you. Always endeavour to tell the truth, for the truth will set you free. What moves me deeply is the fact that when I enquired with the reporter about his conduct he had nothing to say.

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