President Lt Gen Ian Khama this week broke his silence on the spate of extra-judicial executions by the country’s security forces.
In his State of the Nation Address on Friday, paving way to the first session of parliament after the general elections, Khama stated that the law enforcement agencies exist to uphold the rule of law.
Statistics reveal that there has been close to 10 reported killings by security agents in what has come to be seen as state sanctioned ‘extra judicial executions’.
Khama acknowledged that there have been instances of individual wrongdoing but hastened to point that whenever credible allegations of serious abuse by security personnel crop up, they shall be investigated in accordance with the law and due process.
“They shall continue to be impartially investigated in accordance with the law and demands of due process, but not subject to the arbitrary timetable set by sensational newspaper headlines or partisan adventurers,” he told parliament.
Khama said that his government is of the view that Law enforcement agencies have to be empowered with resources to effectively tackle all sorts of crime.
He also pointed out that government was also looking forward to fighting corruption in a bid to put Botswana on record as Africa’s least corrupt country. He thanked the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for making more arrests in the recent months.
Speaking on economic development, Khama warned that government will not hesitate to blacklist companies doing business with government which put profit ahead of national interests. He cited companies which he said inflated costs of public projects at tendering and even at implementation stage.
“Let me here clearly state that where evidence warrants it, government will not hesitate to blacklist those whose private greed undermines our ability to deliver for the greater public good,” he stated.
Khama, who has just dismantled what was formerly the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology and roped into his fold Btv and national radio stations, stated that the Media Council established under the Media Practitioner’s Act was long overdue.
“No profession can ever hope to achieve world class standards, if its practitioners are unwilling to commit themselves to appropriate norms of conduct,” he said, adding that there is need for journalists to be responsible to a credible media council.
Commenting on the progress made in Industrial relations, Khama registered his dissatisfaction with the Botswana Manual Workers Union, which, prior to the general elections, decampaigned some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leaders. Khama said that trade Unions were supposed to serve workers’ interests instead of engaging in partisan politics.
“As there is no workplace in this country that is the exclusive domain of a particular political party or faction, it makes little sense for some labour leaders to be channelling their efforts towards the promotion of external agendas at the expense of their constituents,” he said.