Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ntlo Ya Dikgosi Questions answered by the Hon. Minister for Defence, Justice and Security

source: Republic of Botswana (6/2/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 1 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


QUESTION NO. 27 ASKED BY Kgosi K. Boiditswe (Serowe Region):

QUESTION: To ask the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security to update the Honourable House of Chiefs on the performance of women who joined the BDF since their capability was questioned.

ANSWER: Mr Chairman, I am not aware that the capability of our women in the BDF has ever been questioned. However, what I know is that the first intake of the 20 women officers who completed their training on the 22nd October, 2008 have been posted to various BDF Commands and Units and have so far acquitted themselves well in the execution of their military duties. I thank you.

QUESTION NO. 29 ASKED BY Kgosi Toto II (Kgalagadi South):

QUESTION: To ask the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security to update the Honourable House on the progress made concerning the construction of the patrol roads along our international borders.

ANSWER: Mr. Chairman, the construction of patrol roads is an approved National Development Plan Ten (NDP 10) project. Given the vastness of the areas to be covered and limited financial resources as a result of the economic downturn, the construction of the patrol roads along the international boundary will be done in phases, spread throughout the NDP 10 period. The first phase of the project has commenced, covering 450 km area between Ramotlabaki to Mabule. This phase is expected to be completed during the financial year 2009/10. I thank you

QUESTION NO. 30 ASKED BY Kgosi K. Boiditswe (Serowe Region):

QUESTION: To ask the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security:
A why immunities that the refugees posses appear to surpass those of the locals; B whether these immunities may not make one to believe that these refugees may be the perpetrators of the wars at their countries of origin; C is it not opportune for UNHCR to reduce these immunities so that the laws of their countries of abode may prevail; and D whether it is not yet time for the United Nations to make an assessment of the countries which have politically and economically stabilized so that these refugees can be sent back to their countries of origin.

ANSWER: Mr. Chairman, from the onset let me correct the impression created that refugees possess 'immunities' as suggested in the question. On the contrary refugees enjoy certain rights and privileges provided in our national laws and international instruments governing the protection of refugees. These rights and privileges are minimum international standards universally agreed to by all countries and they are in no way surpassing those of the locals. As a matter of fact the refugees have more restrictions than locals because they cannot leave the camp and/or work outside the camp without residence and work permits. These rights are accorded to the refugees because of the circumstances that they find themselves in after fleeing persecution from the countries of origin. It must be noted that they are victims of instability and civil strife in their countries of origin; hence they flee to safe havens.

Mr. Chairman, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) takes regular country assessments to determine the level of political, economic and social stability of those countries that have produced refugees. Once UNHCR is satisfied with the stability and safety of these countries then the process of repatriation of the refugees to their countries of origin can be started. I thank you.


QUESTION: To ask the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security to apprise the Honourable House about the success and challenges emanating from the merger of the two Police Services.

ANSWER: Mr Chairman, I am happy to report to this Honourable House that the merger between the Botswana Police Service and the Local Police is almost complete. Out of a total of 2037 officers, 1815 have already been attested as members of the Botswana Police Service whilst 5 is awaiting attestation. The remaining 217 officers could not be integrated into the Botswana Police Service because of a number of reasons ranging from previous convictions, failing medical examination, resignations and dismissals. Although the merger was not without challenges, it was generally successful. Some of the positive outcomes of the merger are the following; Increased human resources for the Botswana Police Service. Improved coordination of policing activities for the country, and Single crime recording system for the country.

However, Mr. Chairman, the following are the key challenges encountered during the merger:
* Apprehension by some members of the former Local Police Force resulting in resignations, retirements, declines and departmental transfers.
* Inadequate housing and office accommodation.
* Slow takeover of non policing functions by the Ministry of Local Government.
* Increased functions for the Botswana Police Service.

Mr. Chairman, despite the long list of challenges, we are convinced that the merger was a success and has provided a benchmark for similar activities in the future. I thank you.

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