Sunday, September 27, 2020

Basarwa case set the right precedent

According to the Letlhakeng West MP, Filbert Nagafela, the just ended Basarwa case must have taught government that democracy is not something to merely talk about but is something to be publicly seen and practiced with the full participation of the people involved: that is the public.

Should the government fail to consult the people on the Intelligence and Security Services Bill before implementing, he said, then democracy would have gone to the dogs and soon the government would be seen licking its own wounds like was the case with the Basarwa case. Nagafela said the Basarwa had set a good precedent.

Contributing to the bill in parliament last Thursday, Nagafela rhetorically said he was happy that Botswana was seen locally and internationally practicing good democracy and that was the reason why Botswana “was in court for failing to consult properly with Basarwa before unlawfully and unconstitutionally removing them from their ancestral lands.”

Nagafela reiterated that when dealing with this important and sensitive bill, consultation with the public must be in the fore front as Batswana individuals, the “sons of this soil”, would be employed to carry out and thwart subversive activities in and outside the country.

He further said the Central Intelligence Committee envisaged must exclude the president from chairing its committee, as it would render the committee not independent.

“The country must benchmark with big countries like America where President Bush is not involved in the day to day activities of the intelligence committee,” he said, adding that only one person reports to Bush and the same must be in this case.

Nagafela advised that a recognized special select committee, comprising of stakeholders, be formulated to go about the country preaching the importance and sensitivity of the Intelligence and Security Services bill to augment the findings of the government.

This, the maverick MP added, would portray democracy at work.

“The special select committee must visit stake-holders, including churches and rural areas to ensure that people are not left behind,” he observed.

Minister Merafhe, for his par, stressed the need for this country to follow her own threat analysis and to stop being dogmatic when employing the activities of intelligence and security services act.
He said the country’s benchmarking must be selective to elude traps that befell some “big countries”.

The Foreign Affairs minister further called for watertight monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the security is tight.

He emphasized that the employees be thoroughly trained and grounded to expel and contain subversive tendencies. He reminded parliament that the bill was not aimed at certain people as suggested but for those with subversive tendencies.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.