Former Botswana Defence Force General, Lt Gen Pius Mokgware has warned that the Botswana army is disgruntled with the poor working and living conditions, and this posed a clear and present danger for the country. Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament Lt Gen Mokgware was responding to the budget proposal presented by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi on Thursday. Mokgware warned that an army living under the yoke of poverty is a threat to the security of the same government it is supposed to protect and serve. ┬á“BDF, BPS and BPD personnel are disallowed to conduct businesses of their own because of the nature of their work. Their working conditions including accommodation leaves much to be desired and you still expect them to conduct their operations of duty as usual,” Mokgware noted debating the bill.
“To warn you, the army that is not well paid is a security threat. So pay them”, he said.
The Gabane-Mmankgodi MP pointed out that more than a decade later; BDF blue berets who were deployed in Somalia for a peace keeping operation have not been paid their dues despite having conducted their operations successfully at the dangerous and war-plagued Northern African country.
┬á“The blame lies with you,” Mokgware vented his anger and frustrations at the minister.
Ruling Botswana Democratic Party MP for Mmadinare Kefentse Mzwinila proposed that the social welfare of the army, police and prison officers should be made a priority. “Despite sophisticated and state of art weaponry, an impoverished army will not perform adequately. Their living arrangement, health needs, accommodation and high compensation should be a priority to motivate their morale,” the BDP MP said.
Kgathi requested more than Five Billion Pula recurrent budget and more than P1 Billion for development budget for his Ministry for the year 2015/16.More than one Billion is budgeted for the BDF, part of the budget allocation, nine hundred and four million will be spent on procuring military hardware equipment, aircraft, vehicles, communications and defense equipment.