Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Twenty-nine Batswana serving in foreign militaries to be prosecuted

A total of 29 Batswana serving in foreign militaries will be tried once they  come back to Botswana.

The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security has said they are aware of those.

The Telegraph has established that majority of those employed in foreign armies are mainly  serving in Commonwealth countries.  

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence  Justice and Security Segakweng Tsiane has told The Telegraph that they are looking for  about 29 Batswana , both male and females who are serving in foreign armies.

She warned that they would be arrested and prosecuted as soon as they arrive in Botswana because they have violated the country’s laws.

“It is a criminal offense to serve in foreign militaries without the permission of the State President,” she warned further. 

She said Section 3 of the Foreign Enlistment Act CAP21:06 prohibits any citizen of Botswana to accept, commission or engage in the military service of any other country or induce any other person whether citizen or not to accept or agree to commission or engage in the military service of any country without first obtaining in writing the permission of the president.

The offense carries ten years imprisonment, she said.

She explained that around 2013 her ministry was informed that  there were Batswana citizens serving in foreign armies. 

This was after they were demanded to produce permits proving  that they  had been allowed to serve in such countries.

Many of them failed.

Tsiane revealed that those implicated have never served in Botswana Defence Force and her Ministry is aware of their details and whereabouts.

“I am not is good position to reveal the exact countries where  these people are serving for security reasons,” she said.

Tsiane indicated that the majority of those engaged in foreign military services were initially fully sponsored by their parents for tertiary education in commonwealth countries and after completing their studies they joined those armies as they met the requirements.

She further indicated that it would have been ideal for such countries to have shared that information with  Botswana Government.  

“As far as I am concerned I have never heard anyone granted permission by the President to join foreign military services,” said Tsiane. 

She however cited an incident in which one parent came to her office to seek permission and apply on behalf of her son who is serving in a foreign military.

“The parent wanted the child to be pardoned but that can only be done through the court of law not through the word of mouth,” she said.

Former lieutenant Colonel Molefe Mooketsi said it is unfortunate that those who are serving in foreign countries did not apply as required by the law.

He said if it true that those serving overseas have never served in BDF they can be also recruited locally if they happen to have specialized skills that BDF does not have.

“Personally I do not think they can pose any threat to the country as they have never joined BDF,” he said.


Read this week's paper