Thursday, April 25, 2024

Zimbabweans infiltrating Botswana Police Service? 

A recent parliamentary question from Ignatius Moswaane, MP for Francistown West, raised critical concerns regarding the infiltration and subsequent absorption of Zimbabwean nationals into Botswana’s security institutions. The inquiry, directed at the Minister of Defence and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, focused on the number of officers from the Botswana Police Service (BPS), Botswana Prison Service (BPS), and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) who lost their jobs due to citizenship renunciation delays and how many have been re-absorbed into service.

The Minister provided additional information, shedding light on specific cases within the security forces where individuals faced citizenship-related issues leading to termination or resignation from service. In one instance, a Lance Corporal from the BDF separated from the organization in 2012 due to renunciation issues stemming from dual citizenship. Despite being born in South Africa to a Motswana father and a South African mother, complications arose as the father declined to sign consent forms necessary for the Lance Corporal’s renunciation process, ultimately leading to his resignation.

“Apparently when he turned 21 he did not renounce his citizenship as required by the Citizenship Act, but the records indicate that his national identity card was valid at the time of employment by the BDF. At the time of separation, he was stationed at 115 Infantry Battalion at Thebephatshwa Air Base,” Mmusi told parliament.

Similarly, cases within the Botswana Police Force highlighted concerns over questionable citizenship status and potential infiltration. Special Constables such as Constance Setsile and Tobokani Thusani faced termination or resignation from their positions due to suspicions surrounding their citizenship. Setsile, intercepted at the Botswana College Police Office, was flagged for questionable citizenship during the recruitment process, while Thusani’s Zimbabwean nationality and illegal residence in Botswana were uncovered during investigations.

Another alarming case involved a Special Constable from Kutlwano Police Station, who was found to have provided false declarations regarding his citizenship status. Charged with discreditable conduct, the officer, identified as Bekezela Dube, was dismissed from service upon pleading guilty to the charges.

The revelations have sparked concerns regarding the security implications of individuals with questionable citizenship infiltrating Botswana’s security forces. The potential for foreign nationals, particularly from neighboring countries like Zimbabwe, to gain employment within critical security institutions raises alarms over allegiance, integrity, and vulnerability to external influences.

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