30 November 2016

Botswana: Gabz FM Fires Richardson, Shumba

Gabz FM has dismissed popular morning presenter Reginald Richardson and his producer Keikantse Shumba following a protracted disciplinary hearing process which saw the pair suspended twice from work. At the height of the suspensions, the Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union (BOMAWU) petitioned the station. "We implore the Gabz Fm management to desist from violating their employee's civil right of freedom of expression and information. Failure to acquiesce the above mentioned demands within the next 14 days would indicate that the organization has no interests in the rights of their employees. We would be left with no option but to seek legal recourse, including resorting to a private prosecution for these atrocious acts," read part of the petition.

The station, however, this week released a statement announcing the departure of Richardson and Shumba from their employ while insisting that their station has not been captured by any political party as some have claimed. This was particularly after the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had complained about not having been contacted when a matter affecting it was debated on the Breakfast with Reg programme; an issue that allegedly led to two being hauled over the coals with disciplinary process. "Gabz-FM has not been 'captured' by any political party or any organisation. The allegations are categorically false and misleading to the public, and we urge any persons with information to the contrary to come forth and show cause. Gabz-FM continues to abide by a Code of Ethics for journalists under the Press Council of Botswana, a document which is available for the public and has become the cornerstone of our daily reporting function," said the station in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

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