Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Botswana faces a clear and present dangerÔÇô says African Security Review

African Security Review has reveled that Botswana faces a plethora of external security threats- traditional and nontraditional that warranted the immediate creation of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services.

According to an academic paper tittled “The polemics of security intelligence in Botswana; Real or imagined security threats?” despite the politicisation of the DISS, Botswana’s national security threats are both real and imagined; and domestic threats to national security have moved from the conceptual ‘imagined’ category to the ‘real’.

The paper states that DISS was not formed because domestic threats to national security have moved from conceptual ‘imagined’ category to the ‘real’ but was formed because of the┬á external threats that really warranted its immediate creation.

“Since its inception in 2008, the DISS has been accused of many human rights violations and politicisation.
Without fully deliberating on the basis for its creation, some discourses have focused on the politicised operations without relation to what the DISS is supposed to be doing,” the article reads.

When the bill was first proposed to Parliament to set up an intelligence agency known as the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services it brought to surface deep seated mistrust between the cabinet and the back bench. On the other hand and in line with vision 2016 road map, civil society organized debates in which academics, media practitioners and Parliamentary backbenchers questioned the necessity of the reforms. The main argument then- while it was still a bill was that the proposed Intelligence and Security Service Bill and law contradict Vision 2016 in many fundamental ways. The other argument was that the bill and law contradict the emerging trends in leading liberal democracies in the region and abroad.

In his article University of Botswana’s Proffessor Zibani Maudeni also mentioned while the law was still a bill that the reasons for reforming the Botswana Security Intelligence were not clearly stated in the Intelligence and Security bill which is now a law.

Maudeni argued that the only stated reason for reforming was that the regional and global environment has changed necessitating a review in Botswana’s approach to national Security concerns. He said the bill failed to address what precisely has changed.

Currently most sectors of the Botswana society including Members of Parliament,civil society, academics and individuals suspect that they are under intelligence Surveillance.

Maunden argued further in his article that, what was clear from the beginning as far as the Parliamentary debates, civil society seminars were concerned, the general society wanted an intelligence that was friendly to the citizens and operating under clear guidelines and did not place citizens under undue surveillance.

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