Thursday, October 28, 2021

“No disgruntlement at the army barracks” – Minister

Government has instructed the leadership of the Botswana Defence Force to come up with suggestions that would mitigate the financial difficulties in which a number of army officers find themselves after a mistake occurred which resulted in some of the salaries being increased, only for government to withdraw the increase after the mistake was discovered.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Ndelu Seretse, has said there is no disgruntlement in the army ranks.

Minister Seretse said government is aware that after their salaries were mistakenly increased, a number of soldiers have been found to have financially committed themselves on the basis of salaries that were subsequently withdrawn when a mistake was discovered to have occurred.

He said in any case, the mistake affected a small number of soldiers.

“We don’t want to put soldiers in a situation where they are financially embarrassed. We have asked the military leadership to determine how many people were involved, and also the categories. The truth is we have no control over the commitments they could have made with commercial banks and micro lenders. But still it is important that we know the extent of commitment so that we can assist from such initiatives like consolidation of loans,” said Minister Seretse.

He, however, ruled out media reports that soldiers are disgruntled.

“The media has been very insensitive to the security of the nation. To continue singing a song that the military is disgruntled will not be long before the military learns to dance to the tune of that song,” said Minister Seretse.

He said the Defence Council is worried by the mistake that happened when a salary increase was made across the board, instead of only among those cadres with technical qualifications.

“It is for that reason that, as government, we want to establish how they had become committed on account of that mistake,” said Seretse.

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