The Leader of the opposition, Otsweletse Moupo, has told his followers that the Botswana National Front is suspicious of the reasons given by government for coming up with a new law to create a new Security and Intelligence Services.
Moupo said Botswana does not face any potential threat to warrant the formation of the security intelligence apparatus as envisaged by a law currently before parliament.
Addressing a BNF conference in Serowe recently, Moupo said in light of a sweeping process of democratization in Southern Africa, he is not convinced Botswana faces any threats as to get a new legislation that wants to form a powerful intelligence service.
He said, if anything, democratization of Southern Africa has brought about stability and enhanced security.
He said Botswana Police have always had intelligence services which operated effectively even at the height of regional instability and aggression unleashed against Botswana by apartheid South Africa.
“If our security and Intelligence Services were able to cater for our needs then they are more than adequate for the task now while there is peace and security in the region,” said Moupo.
He told the party delegates that the reasons given by the government for the enactment of the proposed legislation was unconvincing “especially taking into account the way legislation has been drafted.”
He said the BNF suspected that the envisaged legislation is intended to set up surveillance against opposition and trade unionists.
“The intelligence bill poses a serious threat to civil liberties in this country. We are also concerned with the recent measures adopted by government of selectively imposing visa requirements against some citizens of countries whose citizens do not normally require visas to enter Botswana.”
The BNF President said information available to him showed that these people do not pose any kind of danger to Botswana and Botswana’s interests.
He said such blacklisted individuals are people who are generally vocal in criticizing Botswana policies.
“The new measures are a sign of extreme intolerance and undemocratic tendencies on the part of the BDP government,” said Moupo.
Moupo also spoke against the reintroduction of school fees.
He said such a move was unjustified as parents are already assisting government in the costs of educating their children.
“This exposes the hypocrisy and insensitivity of this BDP government which we strongly condemn. We reiterate our position, which is that education is a right and not a privilege and should be free and compulsory to empower every child by providing them with knowledge.”
The BNF leader spoke at length against privatization.
He said his party’s objection to the process goes beyond mere concern about violation of the rules and possible abuse.
“We are saying privatization is a vicious anti-working class policy because it tends to worsen unemployment, aggravate poverty, breed corruption, and undermine national self determination.”
Speaking specifically on the privatization of Air Botswana, Moupo said the fact that government has chosen to go ahead despite a motion calling the suspension of the process thereof is a concern.
He said this is just one among many instances in which the Executive has shown contemptuous disregard for parliament in violation of basic principles of democratic governance.
“There are also serious allegation of impropriety and corruption in the way the envisaged privatization has been handled. There are allegations that, for instance, there was no genuine competitive bidding for the selection of a strategic partner and that SA Airlink was earmarked for selection even before the submission of bids by other airlines.”
He called for a law setting out the procedures of privatization.
“In the absence of a comprehensive legislation setting out clear rules and procedures and providing for a transparent process of privatization, arbitrariness, abuse and corruption are likely to be maximized as some elements within the state bureaucracy and the ruling elite seek to directly benefit from the process and sacrifice national interests on the alter of individual greed and self-enrichment.”