A Botswana Defence Force (BDF) female soldier has been demoted after she posed half naked as local tabloid Page 3 girl.
The lance corporal (names withheld) appeared on the famous ‘Page 3’ of The Voice newspaper earlier this year clad in bikinis. Following the publication of the newspaper, she was brought before a BDF kangaroo court before a final determination was made to demote her to the rank of private.
The demotion comes in spite of legal advice by the Military Prosecutions unit which found that the young woman’s conduct does not violate any provisions of the BDF ACT of 2018.
The Military Prosecution’s view was that there was insufficient evidence to charge the soldier with Section 152 (conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline) saying the evidence advanced could not support both attributes of the Section. The Military Prosecutions found that Section 152 was inappropriate for the alleged offence.
They also found that the matter was not procedurally brought before the Commanding Officer of the female lance corporal in line with Section 159.
The Section provides that: “Before an allegation against a person subject to this Act to the effect that the person has committed an offence against any provision of this Part is further proceeded with, the allegation may be reported, in the form of an accusation or a charge, to the accused person’s commanding officer and the commanding officer shall investigate the charge in the prescribed manner.” It goes further to say that where it appears to the Commanding Officer that there is a need for preliminary or further investigation before they summarily deals with the matter, they shall refer the allegation to the Military Police or other appropriate authority who shall report their findings to the commanding officer.
The Military Prosecutions concluded however that their inclination was towards the morality of the female soldier’s act “taking in consideration that the subject is a serving member of the BDF, whose code of conduct is always expected to conform to certain values which provide members of the Defense Force with common moral and ethical behaviour, on and off duty.” They consequently thought the soldier should rather be given a warning and let go.
The lance corporal’s Commanding Officer however, Sunday Standard has learnt, decided to go ahead and impose a demotion.
The Commanding Officer relied on Section 40 of the BDF Act which says “(1) the rank of a Warrant officer or non-commissioned officer may be reduced only by an order made by that member’s commanding officer.” Sub Section (3) goes on to say “the permission of higher authority is not required for an order reducing rank if — (a) the member whose rank is to be reduced is a lance corporal; or (b) the commanding officer making the order is of or above the rank of Brigadier.”
Responding to Sunday Standard inquiries BDF’s Colonel Stephen Moshagane would not deny the reports suffice it to say that matters of employment regarding any serving member of the BDF remain internal. “Notwithstanding that, legal prosecutions within the organization are done with due diligence in accordance with the BDF Act.”