Love your country? Its your turn to leak!
The arrest of journalist, Sonny Serite, last week, for what is termed as receiving stolen goods by the State, brings to the fore several issues which affect not only the Fourth Estate but the larger populace, which have been lingering for too long.Firstly, one of the roles of the media is to be a watchdog over matters that are in the public interest. This function has pitted the media against Governments the world over because incidentally, it is usually those with the fiduciary duty to act in good faith always, with public resources in hand, who often cannot resist the temptation to dip into the purse that has been entrusted to them, for their personal interests.As with all untruths, naturally, one improper action by such persons will breed a whole series of bad faith actions which ultimately cost the tax paying populace dearly; this is usually entailed in use of State media to manage perceptions, deployment of state sponsored security personnel to arrest perceived culprits and these are all costly, especially when weighed burning socio economic needs of nation. The Government of Botswana has not acted any differently from rogue Governments continentally and globally, in this regard. Secondly, the very media that trumpets the views of all and sundry, including the State, opposition and civil society, finds itself having to fend for itself against adverse legislation and lack of enabling legislation. The advent of the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) Act which turned public media into State media was a misstep that undermined the very credentials of what is largely perceived as an exemple of democracy, in a region that has not been known for such in the traits. This allowed the blatant abuse of the publicly funded media organs for interests of only a handful. The broken promise by the Executive to bring Freedom of Information legislation through Parliament, is also taking its toll on the media, which is forced to use clandestine means to serve its function diligently. Such legislation could have easily been put in place way back in 2012, had the majority ruling party members in Parliament voted in its favour when an opposition member tabled it.
It therefore becomes imperative that every individual who recognises impropriety and corruption by the powers that be in their vicinity, should not be in two minds about exposing it for what it is. This publication verily and categorically states this position and desire to the reader; help expose corruption in high and low places by leaking information to media houses, be it print or broadcast, or social media or through whichever methods that work.
How does exposing corruption help? It saves livelihoods and economies. Billions of Pula lost in projects such as the abortive Fengyue Glass Company project, for instance, could have changed the lives of a large cross section of the populace, had it been invested right. It could better healthcare, amenities, education and others all need major investment but money is always cited as a scarce resources, compromising the quality and availability of such.
This is a call to patriotism. Patriotism is defined as having love and showing support for one’s country. Such a definition should never be misconstrued to mean that those in leadership should be protected against prosecution when they do wrong; it goes against the very ethos encapsulated in the concept of patriotism. Rather, such allegiance should go to the larger populace, those who are at the mercy of the leadership.The arrest of Sonny Serite and his alleged ‘source’ should not deter any patriot from doing the greater good of this nation. We therefore reiterate the call for the citizenry to vigorously leak that information and many more other issues of corruption to the nearest media house for the love of your country and your people. Protect the future of your posterity. The nation needs more leaks.