The Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security is dragging its feet in setting up an Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID).
Five years after parliament passed a motion calling for an independent body to investigate delinquent police officers, the ministry is yet to present a draft to Cabinet for approval, while reports of police killing and brutality continue to pile up at different offices throughout the country.
The Ministry confirmed this week that it does not know when the police investigating body will be set up.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Justice, Defence and Security, Segakweng Tsiane however denied reports that government was reluctant to set up the investigating body saying they were still working on it.
“We know the importance of such a body and are currently working on it and have already been to South Africa to bench mark on their organsation”, she said. Asked when Botswana’s IPID was likely to be up and running, Tsiane said, “I cannot put a time frame to it but promise that we will have a well functioning IPID in the end.”
His predecessor Augustine Makgonatsotlhe told the Sunday Standard three years ago that, said the delay was caused by the fact that coming up with such an instrument takes time. “Such an important instrument cannot be made over night unfortunately. That is what people should know”, he said. Makgonatsotlhe however said they had made big progress on the issue, consulted with all those needed to consult, bench marked on it “and as we talk we are working on presenting it to the cabinet for approval then it will go to Parliament to be made into law.”
More than three years later, the draft has still not been presented to Cabinet for approval and is nowhere near being tabled in Parliament.
In trying to mitigate the absence of an IPID, Tsiane told Sunday Standard this week that currently the Botswana Police Service has some internal structures which deal with complaints against the police and that people can also report such cases to the ombudsman.
Tsiane’s comments follows after Gaborone lawyer Lyndon Mothusi had expressed anger at government reluctance to form an Independent Police Investigative Directorate saying this was of great concern and a grave human rights violation.
Mothusi said that it was unbelievable that there is no IPID five years after Parliament passed a motion calling for its formation. “This is totally unbelievable and in my view a great human rights violation,” he said.
He said Botswana is a signatory of United Nations Human Rights treaty which calls for establishment of bodies that fights for the rights of people including those suspected of having committed any form of crimes.
Mothusi said as it is, some corrupt police officers are ill treating people including suspects around the country because they know there is no independent body which will investigate and bring them to book. . “We always read stories about suspects having been tortured by police in newspapers and the police denying such reports “, he said.