Since President Lieutenant General Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama took power in 2008, he had deported over 2400 foreign nationals, some of who were academics and were declared prohibited immigrants.
In the past two years, Khama has deported a total of 414 foreign nationals of whom 373 were declared prohibited immigrants in terms of in terms of Section 41 (1) (a) of the Immigration Act because they had been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine for the various criminal offences they committed while in the country, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu has confirmed.
The said section reads, “a person is a prohibited immigrant and his or her entry into or presence within Botswana is unlawful if he or she is an immigrant who not having received a free pardon, has been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine in Botswana.”
The other 40 foreigners, according to Batshu, were declared prohibited immigrants under Section 41 1(c) which empowers the President to declare any person a prohibited immigrant in consequence of information received from a reliable source. The act, reads, “a person is a prohibited immigrant and his or her entry into or presence within Botswana is unlawful if he or she is a person, in consequence of information received from a reliable source, is declared by the President to be a prohibited immigrant.” In addition, Batshu said that one of the prohibited immigrants was married to a Motswana.
Batshu was speaking in Parliament in response to a series of questions from the Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi who had wanted to know the number of foreigners who were deported in the last two years and the reasons for their deportations. Mmolotsi also wanted to know the fate of the assets accrued by deportees during their stay in the country.
Batshu reiterated that the mandate of his Ministry was to control movement of persons and therefore, in cases of deportations, deportees were facilitated to travel to their countries of origin and they were responsible for making their own arrangements for disposal of their assets. Batshu added that this figures do not include thousands of illegal immigrants repatriated to their respective countries mainly Zimbabweans on a daily basis. However, the Minister could not tell Parliament the nationalities of the deportees or nature of their businesses.
More deportations under Khama administration
Batshu further revealed that, during Sir Ketumile Masire’s 18 years in power, there were only 115 deportations while Festus Mogae deported 790 foreigners during his presidency which spanned for 10 years. Mogae stepped down from Presidency at the end of his full term in 2008 and was automatically succeeded by Khama. According to statistics from the Ministry of labour and home affairs, by March 2010 President Khama had already deported 404 foreigners while by last year alone, Khama had declared 133 foreigners prohibited immigrants.
However in August 2014, while attending an African Leadership Forum Panel Discussion in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Mogae, who is a recipient of a Mo Ibrahim Foundation prize, revealed that in fact Khama has deported over 2000 foreign professionals since he took over power. Mogae then suggested that Khama’s government was intolerant to debate, criticism and was hostile to any dissenting voice.
Nonetheless, on the sidelines of the National Assembly, a ruling Party Member of Parliament, Biggie Butale of Tati East told this publication that the escalating numbers of deportations under Khama presidency was because of the establishment of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) which he said was doing a splendid job as the government is now well-informed about the background and activities of foreigners residing in the country. The impact of deportations on the economy
Another ruling party MP, Setlhomo Lelatisitswe of Boteti East, told this publication in an interview that the skyrocketing figures of deportations by the Khama administration will not scare potential investors. He noted that strengthening the country’s intelligence agency remains the government’s top priority.
“We are trying to tighten the country’s security as in many cases investors would like to do business in a secure and safe environment. By deporting these foreigners, we are simply warning the world at large that Botswana will not tolerate investors who are a threat to its security or who are involved in illegal businesses” he said. In 2010, the then legislator for Lobatse, Nehemiah Modubule pleaded with the government to amend the immigration act because the deportees were denied justice. He said deporting foreigners without according them justice does not bode well for a country which is seeking foreign investment.
Three years ago, former legislator for Tonota, Pono Moatlhodi decried that deportation of foreign investors was negatively affecting the country’s economy. Moatlhodi lamented before Parliament that it was sad to note that the country was on a mission to lure in foreign investments while at the same time deporting those who had already invested in the country. He went on to warn the government that deporting foreigners in such a manner might in the long run discourage potential investors and already many locals were losing jobs as foreigners who owned some businesses were deported.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.