While there is a rise of concerns in the country, especially by opposition politicians, of over spending at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), the Commander of the BDF 2nd Infantry Brigade in Francistown, Brigadier Molefi Seikano, has advocated for empowerment of the military through adequate funding.
Speaking during the 36 anniversary BDF celebrations in Francistown over the weekend, Seikano said that the BDF, just like any other military or army around the world, is prone to threats therefore it is important for it to be well resourced.
“Contrary to some beliefs that Botswana does not face any military threats and therefore should not incur any costs in defense spending, we are of the view that this thought is not supported by any empirical evidence,” he said.
He also said that the emerging threats or new wars call for soldiers who understand the levels of strategy, capable of seeing the invisible and defend the nation and its people across a broad spectrum of conflict. He said that as the BDF grows, it must build a capability that will be an enabler to fight sovereign challenges or complex emergencies to usher peace in the African continent and beyond. Seikano also said that it is very crucial for the BDF to join forces with other armies in the region to better its standards through the exchange of ideas.
“Defence cooperation helps to strengthen partnership between nations and their militaries,” he said.
He further raised worries over the escalation of poaching activities in the region saying that they are a threat to the tourism sector.
He said cooperation between armies in the region would help curb such illegal activities.
Seikano said that the BDF continues to be engaged in poaching operations to support the government diversity strategy since tourism is the new engine to growth.
Seikano also said that terrorism, organized crime, drugs and trafficking remain a security challenge for every nation. He said that due to those challenges, the military remains relevant in contemporary times and even in the future.
On another note, Seikano said that the BDF has grown in leaps and bounds ever since its inception in 1977. ┬áHe said such a development is evidenced by the fact that the BDF, which for three decades accepted only males, has now opened its doors for female officers’ intake.
“This is one of our milestones as the Botswana Defence Force. We are focused in building a small but capable Botswana Defence Force to combat traditional and irregular threats,” he added.
The event was attended by several dignitaries including, among others, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Tonota South, Pono Moatlhodi and the 1st Infantry Brigade Commander of Zimbabwe, Brigadier General Thomas Moyo.