BDP giants ditch The Patriot?
Three Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) giants and board members of a local Sunday newspaper, The Patriot on Sunday, have reportedly left the publication.
Party chairman, Guma Moyo, its secretary general, Mpho Balopi, and ruling party political aspirant Thapelo Olopeng are alleged to have left the 10-month old publication inorder to handle other pressing business ventures while prominent local lawyer Sadique Kebonang who is associated with leading retailer Choppies takes over as the executive chairman in their absence. Moyo was the executive chairman.
However, reliable information reaching The Gazette is that the three are no longer part of the paper. The source revealed that the paper is currently struggling, which might be the reason why the three political strongmen have decided to quit the project.
“For the past six months the paper has been struggling to pay its employees, they were paid late and there was no clear communication between the management and the employees. Nobody knows what is going on. The employees questioned but never got answers. As we speak today (2nd September), they haven’t yet been paid,” the source revealed. One of the employess said in confidence that Moyo told the staff that Kebonang was taking over as a member of the management, claiming that he is busy with other things.
Asked whether they are no longer shareholders of The Patriot, Olopeng said that the matter was still under discussion and indicated that the outcome of the discussion should be expected this week.
Moyo and Balopi could not be reached for comment as their phones were off yesterday.
The editor of The Patriot, Ephraim Keoreng referred this publication to the new chairman, Kebonang, saying the issues of shareholding are best presented by the owners. Regarding late payments, Keoreng said he was not aware of such.
Reached for comment, Kebonang confirmed his new position at The Patriot newspaper. However, he said Moyo, Balopi and Olopeng have not resigned, but they remain non-executive directors.
The paper was launched last year amidst great fanfare and was expected to compete in the coverted Sunday slot. Skeptics however cautioned that the paper creadibility was compromised by its owners’ obvious political standing.