The Office of the President has instructed the Botswana Police Service (BPS) and the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) to recruit from the Basarwa community under relaxed requirements as a way of easing tensions between the government and the Basarwa.
It is also meant to reduce international condemnation of how the government is marginalizing the underprivileged community.
Some are already saying that it is wrong for the government to make such decision as that will unleash similar requests from other tribes causing an unwelcome lowering of standards in both the army and the police.
Information reaching Sunday Standard suggests that the Office of the President ordered the security services to, from now onwards, ensure that Basarwa are given special dispensation when joining such agencies.
The Botswana police service has recruited about eight Basarwa who have started undergoing twelve months of training since last week on Monday.
The Botswana Defense Force is also expected to take up on the OP’s call when they recruit this year’s private recruits.
It is further reported that it had been ordered that Basarwa should be given a special cut of points if they do not meet the entry requirements when identified.
“The Police Commissioner has requested that the college recruits among Basarwa community in this year’s intake to train them as police officers,” said the Deputy Director of the Botswana Police College in Otse, Assistant Police Commissioner Boeletswe Gobotswang.
He confirmed that already eight of them had been recruited to become police trainees as constables to complete training at the end of the year.
He explained that initially it was agreed that about 30 Basarwa should be among the 160 constables that were required for this year by the college but due to tough competition only eight managed to qualify.
Gobotswang indicated that both the social workers and station commanders throughout the country were asked to disseminate information, especially in remote areas.
When asked who provides Basarwa with transport to and from their different villages to Otse to seat for interviews, he responded that “BPS did not provide them with transport”.
“The college is very pleased about how the Basarwa responded to the call,” he said, adding that Basarwa who have joined the service are few and that is a concern as they are the citizens of this country who also should have to be recruited in all government or private sectors.
“This is very good development as that will assist when they are being posted in their communities as they will not be any miscommunication during investigations.
Gobotswang said he does not know how such dispensation will last.
In a brief interview with the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlhogile Tsireletso, on Friday night, she said through the Department of Social Services that their ministry transported Basarwa who were requested to attend police interviews at Otse Police College, adding that her ministry will be pleased if marginalized tribes can be recruited in all government sectors.
Meanwhile some senior police officers, who opted for anonymity, said that the Commissioner had made a terrible mistake to agree with the OP to give Basarwa such special treatment as other minority tribes may also want such special treatment and they would be right to ask for such dispensation.
“We wonder whether this exercise will be sustainable,” they said.