Aside from President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s final State of the Nation Address, the Minister of Defense Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi is expected to be the centre of attraction during the November session of Parliament as he prepares to bring a litany of bills aimed at appeasing the disciplined forces.
Further he is expected share with Parliament a number of military deals that the Botswana has entered into with a number of fraternal friends in Asia and the Far East. Kgathi’s ministry has also been cooking up some interventions aimed at addressing challenges in the justice system. At the top of Kgathi agenda is the military deals Botswana has penned with a number of countries including South Korea. There is no doubt that Kgathi will be the busiest minister in the last quarter of the year with number of Acts expected to be revised while some are only awaiting the signature of President Lt General Ian Khama.
The acquisition of the grippen fighter jets by his ministry was as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sweden. According to government sources, the agreement was concluded last year October and the gripens are coming. Meanwhile a joint committee to coordinate the implementation of activities in the areas of cooperation has been established and adopted its action plan. It is said Khama’s visit to Sweden to acquire the fighter jets was punctuated by bilateral meetings “between the two countries at Ministerial and Head of states.”
This will pave way for the Government to Government (G2G) and Government to Business (G2B) collaboration in matters of procurement. Ministry contingent is once again anticipated to convene for implementation meeting in October still in Sweden. Kgathi’s ministry, according to highly placed sources, has also managed to partner with South Korea in a deal tailored for cooperation in the field of Defense and logistics support and an MoU on defense was signed.
“The two MoU’s were signed this year. As part of the implementation of these agreements the defense acquisition program administrator of the Republic of Korea, Major General OH Wonjin visited Botswana in May to follow up on exploration of new areas of cooperation between the two countries.” The deal with Korea requires a much more complex coordination within the Korea republic for purpose of implementation by the Ministry and the BDF in various aspects.
Another deal has been concluded is with the Vladimir Putin’s led Russian Federation. The MoU has already seen local legal and military experts rubbing shoulders with their Russian counterparts. In addition BDF personnel will occasionally fly to India for military training and cooperation. So far 21 have been sponsored for such training. Another MoU between Botswana and Brazil on defense cooperation has been approved by cabinet. Kgathi’s ministry has also roped in Serbia hence have an MoU on defense and cooperation, mutual protection of classified information, military and technical cooperation.
The two countries according to the draft are simply resuscitating the relations between Sir Seretse Khama and former Yugoslavia (Serbia) under Tito. The two nations will work on establishing small arms and ammunition using local resources like Sua salt. Local companies involved in defense industries and those of the Czech Republic will interact to enhance cooperation. This will at the end facilitate development of MoU for defense cooperation and mutual protection of classified, information, and military. In Africa Kgathi’s Ministry has agreed MoUs on military training, cooperation and exchange of directing staff with Zambia and Zimbabwe. The two MoU’s are expected to be concluded in the last quarter of this year.
Kgathi’s promises to disciplined forces
After successfully blocking Private Member’s Bill proposals from the Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse, minister Kgathi will claim the shine himself when he presents a number of proposals in favour of disciplined forces. A number of security legislations will be fast tracked to ensure that the ‘goodies’ are rolled out in a short space of time. The BDF Amendment bill will be the first and is expected to be published in the government gazette this month. The bill seeks revise the retirement ages for different ranks with among other things, long outstanding and issues of low retirement packages being addressed.
The amendment will also bring about improvement to the BDF military justice and court or martial system. Provisions relating to disciplinary offences have been comprehensively revised to cover a range of them including fraternization, sexual harassment, espionage, cheating and plagiarism. Meanwhile the Botswana Police Service Act will also be amended to incorporate all provisions relevant to administration and functionality, especially issues on appointment of civilian staff, management discipline, and termination. It will further cater for compulsory and voluntary retirement ages for different ranks.
Another amendment on the cards is that of the Botswana Prisons Service. Its fundamental changes are for the Commissioner to be the appointing authority of officers below the Deputy Commissioner rank. The bill also amends retirement ages for different ranks within the Prison department. Warder to Superintendent will be pegged at 50 years, Superintendent to Senior Assistant Commissioner will be at 55 years, while Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner will retire at 60 years. The bill is only awaiting the President to sign this month.
The last bill that will be considered is the Interstate Transfer of Prisoners Bill. The bill will create a framework for transfer of prisoners between Botswana and those countries which it has signed agreements with. The law will allow prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentences in their respective countries which will also alleviate prison overcrowding. The regulations are being finalized by the attorney general and will be ready by signature by the end of this month. This publication also learns that Kgathi will also make pronouncement geared towards introducing certain allowances for the disciplined forces.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.