The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs has reduced the turnaround time for citizen renunciation such that people renouncing citizenship of the other country are processed immediately instead of 3-6 months as has been.
Minister Dorcas Makgato revealed this week that her ministry has relaxed requirements on stateless citizens staying in Botswana, who are around 12 000 in number, so as to facilitate them to resume citizenship. Makgato said that people who never took citizenship of the other country but failed to renounce upon age 21 will be exempt from the current administrative requirements of producing a valid passport and/or documents of the other country.
“In addressing these problems my ministry will ensure that affected person, including their children, both minor and major, are assisted within the limits of the law and each case will be looked at within its special circumstances,” she said. As for the 12 000 classified as stateless people, a renunciation form will be provided.
“The said form will have a portion for persons who are not sure whether they are citizens of the other country or not by virtue of the citizenship laws of that other country. The envisaged process will reduce the turnaround time since it will be such that applicants will be assisted immediately as compared to the current 3-6 months,” she added.
Furthermore, Makgato said the ministry was working around the clock to clear the Omang backlog by August 31 2018.This would be on time for general elections registration. “We do not want to deny people from exercising their right hence why the ministry is doing all it can so that it doesn’t frustrate people,” she highlighted. At the end of May 2017, the National Identity register stood at 1 634 294. 136 844 Omang cards were not yet renewed dating back from 1998 to date. Currently the ministry is clearing 59 000 deaths from the system. Since April 2018, 64 000 Omang renewals have been done.
The law has also been relaxed for elder people as they will no longer be requested to bring a witness who is ten years older than them, where the date of birth is unknown and captured as xx/xx. The applicant is no longer required to make an affidavit confirming the replacement of xx/xx with 01/01.
“The request for elders to bring people who have known them for more than 10 years was problematic hence why the ministry decided to use a guideline for verification of age such as calendar of events for example, ngwaga wa tsie, ntwa ya lehatshe ya ntlha,” Makgato explained. The National Registration Act of 2017 that introduced the specifications for a photograph of an Omang card created ambiguity and clashes with some communities, religion and culture, she said.
“While the ministry addresses this, the affected communities will retain the headgear and push it away from the forehead in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.” There will also be no penalties for minors between 16 and 18 who have failed to register on time and the ministry is no longer confiscating Omang cards from the public unless obtained fraudulently.
The ministry on VISA
The ministry has further committed itself to facilitate movement of people across borders to promote investment, tourism and relations with other countries. They have also identified impediments to delays in the issuance of VISA as well as the work and residence permits. The Ministry decided to:
>Decentralize VISA processing to Embassies
>Allow provision of VISAs at port of entry; exits at Kasane and any other Border Posts near National Parks are authorized to grant VISA on arrival to tourists who are travelling into Botswana as a tour group for day trips
> Allow group applicants as opposed to individual applicants
>Allow visitors maximum of 90 days VISA instead of the current 30 days practice
>Automatically grant VISA to applicants who have been granted work and residence permits.
>Decentralize the service of certification to any commissioner of Oaths in line with the Commissioner of Oaths Acts.
>Investors on wind up period are now given up to six months period from 30 days.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.