Mmegi Blogs :: Police, soldiers deserve better from politicians
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Last Updated
Wednesday 23 August 2017, 06:00 am.
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Police, soldiers deserve better from politicians

Politicians are by their nature self-serving, greedy and outright annoyingly manipulative to the unsuspecting. They connive and betray. They yield excessive power and control institutions that must guard them with ease.
By Owen Nsala Wed 09 Aug 2017, 17:12 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Police, soldiers deserve better from politicians








They become masters and we, the masters, become servants. They dominate our public discourse and only account to themselves. They sell dreams and offer just that, dreams (some shattered).

Parliament recently sat and had a debate on the amendment to the Police Act and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Act. There was a motion tabled that sought an amendment to the Police Act and the BDF Act in respect of full pay under interdiction. The status quo is that a soldier or a Police Officer who has been interdicted pending a disciplinary hearing is not entitled to a full salary and is only remunerated half of his or her salary. The Acts are in divergence and difference to other public servants’ Act to the extent that those in public service are allowed full pay whilst on interdiction or suspension, whereas soldiers and police officers receive half pay on interdiction.

There is of course overwhelming reason in paying a full salary to a person on suspension. Paramount to that support is that one remains innocent until so proven guilty and after due process of the law has taken its course. A pay at half salary is not only vindictive, but suggestive of a guilty verdict even before being offered a hearing. Further to that, one on suspension is still regarded an employee and is unable to find employment pending the outcome of any disciplinary process and hearing. The variation of conditions of service, to wit, a salary fully affects the livelihood of any person more so that the salaries being drawn by employees are in most cases overly committed. At its sitting and after deliberations by parliamentarians, the motion which sought to cure the half salary evil that is visited upon our men and women on uniform, our patrol masters and guards to this republic, the motion was defeated with the majority in parliament voting against such a noble and well thought amendment. The deliberations demonstrated a sorry state of affairs and an undying love for control and power by those who so possess it. It was a message to say in this beauty pageant of our lives, there will only be one winner and the crown does not belong to the participants but to the judges. How do we begin to explain to the men in uniform that their masters, those that they have voted into power, see no moral authority to protect and improve their conditions of service? Should it matter who the originator of the motion is? Does the colour and taste of the originator of

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the motion determine whether it must pass or not?

Are laws passed on the basis of principle, fairness and the good of the republic or they are passed as appeasement tools and sweeteners to elections? The jostle for power and having our livelihoods as chess pieces is to be shunned at and discouraged with the strongest of tones.

It is contemptuous of ours to throw down noble amendments at the expense of political expediency. There is no doubt that on the face of it the divergent treatment through legislation of civilians and soldiers has anecdotes of a discriminatory nature. To the extent that civil servants and men and women in uniform remain in the payroll of government, they must not be any obvious discriminatory laws against the other and more especially when it comes to similarly circumstanced situations. How different is a soldier on suspension on account of missing from work and a doctor missing from work? Why is the doctor allowed full pay and the soldier half pay? Can someone who sees logic in that explain for I see none and doubt if any sane and mentally astute person can negotiate around the issue and find a logical reason for the discrepancy.

It is unfortunate that our brothers and sisters in uniform do not have the capacity to unionise. To that end, their hope lies with those with the powers to make laws that will provide a conducive environment for work for them. It is quite disheartening that they are now being treated like orphans. They have no one to cushion their problems and give them a shoulder to cry or an ear to listen. Like a discarded orphan they are left to the cold and each day that comes has less and less hope for they cannot gather and rally a cry of help. They are a special breed of orphans as they do have parents who have disowned them. Parents who only make a call when in trouble. These are orphans who are being used in the most sinister of crimes and protect the same men who see no wrong in throwing down amendments meant to improve and or maintain some form of dignity at the end of the month. Our politicians can do better. They too know. It should not matter who is the originator of a motion in parliament. Good and just laws must be supported without recourse to political survival or fight for glory at the polls. Least we forget, these are the custodians of our guns and missiles. Ijaaa.

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Guilty As Charged
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