Mmegi Blogs :: Just So You Know
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Last Updated
Wednesday 15 August 2018, 15:48 pm.
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Just So You Know

Some say that it was the man, some the law and others, the oversight bodies. Of course, no one can know what did happen in those Councils and Committees.
By Sandy Grant Mon 21 May 2018, 15:26 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Just So You Know








And tucked away somewhere in the Law may be a clause which makes it illegal to question it. Ridiculous, of course, but the terms of this Law are bound to be a word labyrinth, tangled, dense, and ring fenced. Is this why it passed so easily through the National Assembly? But even so, if the Law is fundamentally flawed, why didn’t some of those MPs spot the problem? Was it because some hadn’t even read it or because some had read it but not understood it and didn’t want to reveal their ignorance by asking questions? But then again, all they had to do was to re-present some of the concerns that had been expressed about the Bill by a very concerned public. It didn’t happen.

And look what they inflicted on the country for the next 10 years! The public was treated with contempt – and not for the first time. Try a sample or two. Here we go: - ‘A person who, without the prior written approval of the Director General, in connection with any activity carried on by him or her takes, assumes, uses or in any manner publishes any name, description, title or symbol which is calculated, or is likely to lead other persons to believe or infer that such activity is carried on under or by virtue of the provisions of this Act or under the patronage of the Directorate, shall be guilty of an offence.’ That’s three years.

Or: ‘A person who discloses the identity of another person which he or she has obtained or to which he or she has had access by virtue of the performance of his or her duties or functions under this Act; or
his or her position as a person who holds or has held any office in the Directorate, and from which the identity of any person who is or was a confidential source of information to the Directorate, or is or was an officer or support staff engaged in covert operational activities of the Directorate, can be inferred, and who discloses such information to any person other than a person to whom he or she is authorised to disclose it or to whom it may lawfully be disclosed, shall be guilty of an offence.’ Got it?
Five years. Try this: An officer or support staff authorised in that behalf by the Director General may, without warrant, arrest a person if he or she reasonably suspects that that person has committed or is about to commit an offence referred to in this Act.’ Three years. The key word here is ‘reasonably’ which can mean almost anything to anybody.

Still with me? Next: ‘Where, during an investigation by an officer or support staff, of a

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suspected offence, another offence is disclosed, the officer or support staff may, without warrant, arrest a person if he or she reasonably suspects that such person is guilty of that other offence, and he or she reasonably suspects that such other offence was connected with, or that either directly or indirectly its commission was facilitated by, the suspected offence.’ The key word again being ‘reasonably’.

Toes beginning to curl? On we go: ‘No action shall be brought against a member of staff of the Directorate (or any other person authorised by the Director General to perform any act under this Act), in respect of any act or of his thing done or omitted to be done in good faith, upon reasonable grounds, in the exercise or her duties under this Act. Note ‘good faith’. Very wobbly. Still with me? ‘Where a person is guilty of an offence for which no specific penalty is provided under this Act, that person shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 years.’ Who? ‘A person who discloses the identity of another person which he or she has obtained or to which he or she has had access by virtue of-the performance of his or her duties or functions under this Act; or
his or her position as a person who holds or has held any office in the Directorate, and from which the identity of any person who-is or was a confidential source of information to the Directorate, or
is or was an officer or support staff engaged in covert operational activities of the Directorate, can be inferred, and who discloses such information to any person other than a person to whom he or she is authorised to disclose it or to whom it may lawfully be disclosed, shall be guilty of an offence.’

Six years. And no one to blame: ‘No action shall be brought against a member of
staff of the Directorate (or any other person authorised by the Director General to perform any act under this Act), in respect of any act or thing done or omitted to be done in good faith, upon reasonable grounds, in the exercise of his or her duties under this Act.’

Two years. And then, just so you know: ‘Any person who, for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of Botswana approaches, inspects, passes over, is in the vicinity of or enters any prohibited place;.’ or ‘any person who is found committing an offence under this Act, or who is reasonably suspected of having committed, or having attempted to commit or being about to commit such an offence may be arrested without warrant by any police officer and detained.’ ‘Fraid that’s the Chateau D’If for you!`

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