Former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Major General Pius Mokgware has warned Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi to put his house in order if he is to avoid looming trouble.
Mokgware told parliament this week that a culture of ill-treatment subjected to members of the BDF by government was literally playing with fire. Debating the budget proposal of Ministry of Defense, Justice and Security Mokgware warned that a situation where government is at loggerheads with soldiers at courts is not ideal as it present a security risk.
Mokgware revealed that government is in the habit of unreasonably refusing to honour its agreement with soldiers over payments, leading to an atmosphere of animosity. The Gabane-Mankgodi MP gave an example of a case which is before the courts in which BDF failed to pay soldiers who went on a peace keeping mission in Somalia.
Mokgware said it is a security risk to see disputes involving soldiers and the army being settled at the courts instead of the ideal Defence Council, which should deal with soldiers concerns.
Mokgware further decried what he called lack of proper BDF structure and noted that it had resulted in some soldiers working for a long time without promotion. “Some army members go for 10 years at the rank of private and this certainly demoralizes them,” he said.
Mokgware argued that the government does not give all state security institutions the serious attention it deserves as shown by its commitment towards improving their welfare. He contended that soldiers, police officers, and prison staff are doing an excellent job yet they are not sufficiently remunerated.
The former army man said soldiers are currently faced with shortage of accommodation and low wages with their welfare not being given the handling it deserves. He observed that the practise has a negative bearing in the long run because they would become a security risk.
Mokgware said, unlike other civil servants, soldiers, police officers and prison staffers, because of the nature of their jobs are unable to start up their own businesses to complement their salaries. “Soldiers work unconventional hours,” he said. “Other civil servants can have businesses, soldiers and police officers cannot,” he said.
The government’s lack of commitment towards improving the welfare of the army men is evidenced by the meagre monthly payments made to the relatives of Lesoma heroes who died in pursuit of defending the country, according to Mokgware. He went on to call for government to consider increasing the money to a reasonable amount.
Another issue which is a hot potato in the security sector is the matter relating to the welfare security guards employed by private companies. MPs called for a need to review the current law with the view of protecting them from unfair treatment.
Adding on to the debate, Gilbert Mangole, MP for Mochudi West requested minister Kgathi to come up with a reviewed legislative piece of work that would enable government to intervene in a situation where it has contracted a private security company and it is not paying its security guards on time. “Government should be allowed to take part of the money forwarded as payment to pay the guards who are being owed by the company,” he argued.
Mangole said there is an alarming case of maltreatment by private security companies to their guards and the current law allows them to easily get away with it.
Kgathi told parliament that there are 3,806 licensed security companies in Botswana, further revealing that that there was serious disregard of employee welfare, conditions of service, industrial relations as provided in the Employment Act by the directors of private security companies.
“It is also a concern that some of the employees are implicated in criminal activities,” said Kgathi. The Minister also revealed that 345 security guards were being investigated for various crimes like house breaking and theft, rape and other robberies. Meanwhile Edwin Batshu called for a reviewed piece of legislation that would allow government to revoke the company licence if it fails to pay the security guards by the 3rd of every month. Batshu also called on the minister Kgathi to hire special constables who had served for a period of five years on full time basis to the Botswana Police. He said that for a person to serve five years on temporary basis shows the commitment the person has to the organization.
Batshu said even if the special constables do not have enough points to meet the cut-off points, their experience should be taken into account in their being admitted into training at the Botswana Police College.
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.