Members of Parliament have called on the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi to urge the security operatives to start focusing on arresting the drug lords.
When debating the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Bill No.20 of 2018 tabled by Kgathi, the MP of Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa said the Botswana Police Service (BPS) officers were always targeting the poor marijuana dealers who were leading simple lives when the real drug lords selling dangerous drugs that perish the youth were left to run their drug business in harmony.
“Even though I support this Bill, I would like the police to go to the suburbs where the real drug lords stay. Those guys drive expensive cars, lead fancy lifestyles and are very rich. They are they guys that sell serious drugs such as cocaine, heroin and others. I feel that it is unfair for this law to only target the poor marijuana dealers leaving out the real drug lords. Re ka se tswelele ka go tshwara ba metokwane re tlogela batho baba rekisang diritibatsi tse di kotsi mo sechabeng ba itirelela jaaka ba batla,” he said.
Nkaigwa further condemned the suggestions made by some MPs that marijuana dealers must be given a life sentences saying it was unfair as many of them were driven into selling those drugs due to various reasons such as poverty and unemployment. He said the government must address the real issues that drove the underprivileged to sell illicit drugs such as marijuana. He also urged the government to involve churches in fighting against various social ills including drug abuse.
Nkaigwa added that councils must rent out all the recreational parks across that have turned into white elephants to the private sector. He said the parks could be turned into recreational places where the youth could have fun without indulging in alcohol and drug abuse.
For his part, the MP for Letlhakeng/Takatokwane, Ngaka Ngaka pointed
He advised that mobile scanners would be the solution of fighting drug trafficking and abuse in the Botswana. He suggested that could be put at different check spots across the country and help the police nab the drug dealers and users. He also advised Kgathi to train more sniffer dogs to help fight the drug problem in the country.
Ngaka also called the ministry to establish inpatient rehabilitation centres in the country. He explained that neighbouring countries such as South Africa had them and they proved to be effective. He said counseling alone would not help rehabilitate drug abusers as done currently.
According to Kgathi, the objective of that Bill was to domesticate the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which was signed on December 20, 1988. He said the bill seeks to criminalise drug related offences in conformity with Article 3 of the Convention and to include illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The Bill consists of 29 clauses. Offenses pertaining to use, possession, and cultivation illicit substance attracts a fine not exceeding P500 000 or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years. Any person who deals in any illicit substance commits an offence and is liable to all of the following punishments; imprisonment for not less than 20 years and to fine not exceeding P1million or in default of the fine, to an additional term of imprisonment of not less than five years or more than seven years.