This year’s elections pose formidable challenge – Morwaeng

Francinah Baaitse
MINISTER: Morwaeng

Batswana are preparing for this year’s general elections, which will see President Mokgweetsi Masisi seek a second and last term in office under the current ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) card and the first-past-the-post electoral system.

With the general elections less than four months away, Minister of State President, Kabo Morwaeng, says this year’s elections pose a formidable challenge magnified by the increase in constituencies.

Speaking at a government communication team’s recent retreat workshop in Maun, whose purpose was to assess the team’s readiness for the elections, Morwaeng made a call to all the teams to safeguard the country’s reputation of good governance and democracy.

“We stand at a pivotal moment in Botswana’s history where the role of the public media is not just significant but indispensable in upholding the values of our nation as we approach the 2024 general elections. Your role as guardians of truth, as voices of reason, as pillars of impartiality, is crucial in maintaining Botswana’s status as a shining example of democracy and good governance,” said Morwaeng.

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Among the attendees of the workshop were media leadership from various departments, including deputy permanent secretaries and directors, senior editors and producers.

The workshop was held under the theme ‘Ballot Boxes, Unveiling the Role of the Public Media in Elections’.

The minister further advised journalists to educate themselves on electoral processes, including understanding dynamics of each constituency and upholding highest standards of fact-checked reporting, “Amidst the passionate feeling of elections, where emotions run high and tensions fill the air, I urge you to resist sensationalism. Stay true to your calling as servants of the public, as champions of unity and agents of peace. Remember your words and images hold immense power; once spoken, they can’t be unsaid, lefoko ga le boe go boa monwana, therefore let’s remain steadfast in our commitment to truth and impartiality, exercise caution, diligence and unwavering dedication to accuracy on our reporting.”

Explaining the role of Public Media, Morwaeng said its purpose is not merely that of reporting news but that of safeguarding the very essence of Botswana as a beacon of democracy and good governance, “I have no doubt that your efforts will not only shape the discourse around the elections but also cement Botswana’s reputation as a shining example of democracy and fair reporting.”

Giving a keynote address at the same event, Government Communication’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of State President, Montlenyane Baaitse, added that the relationship between the media and civil stability is more intricate and profound especially around this time, “This means we cannot take this clarion call without planning, without doing an assessment of our strength and opportunities of improvement, if we really want to deliver quality election coverage to the people of this beloved country.”

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Baaitse’s message was that the strength of Botswana’s democracy, the stability of its communities, the vibrancy of the civic life, are intricately linked to the freedom, integrity and responsible media, “We stand at a pivotal moment in history where the power of media technology is reshaping both the narrative and the landscape of electoral process and democracy itself. As we approach the upcoming elections, we cannot overlook the transformative impact that technology has had on how we engage with our political environment to make decisions and exercise our civil rights.”

She further explained that at the end of the workshop, they will have discussed and had input on the draft Government Communication Assurance Framework, which will be rolled out across 18 ministries and other stakeholders, once endorsed.

“The framework will assist us to communicate better with our internal and external stakeholders. It will also help us in mitigating and managing all potential incidences that may impact negatively on the image and reputation of our people and the country.”

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