Gov’t defends blurred BDF, police duties

Police and solders mantaining order during lockdown PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Police and solders mantaining order during lockdown PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi has revealed that the decision to draw the military into what was traditionally classified as policing is the manifestation of crime into areas which blurred the lines between crime and threat to national security.

While among the key functions of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) is to defend the country and provide for the security of Botswana through aiding civil authorities in domestic support operations, recently more military personnel have been deployed to perform police duties mostly alongside the Botswana Police Service (BPS). In actual fact, compared to the police, BDF troops are trained to kill and are equipped with the most efficient weapons.

But these trained members of the force have been serving as police officers, a job that involves entirely different expectations and holds them to a dissimilar standard. Mmusi, who was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Okavango Kenny Kapinga in Parliament this week, said the decision to deploy the military is provided for by the laws of Botswana and the BDF Act therefore, they are doing nothing wrong. Kapinga had asked why the government considers it normal and ideal for the military to be deployed in policing duties routine. In his explanation, Mmusi said the recent spike of cash-in-transit heists where criminals use weapons of war, a systematic poaching challenge, transnational crimes together with the imminent threat of terrorism, are some of the manifestations, which compelled joint effort between all security agencies.

Editor's Comment
Government’s efforts commendable!

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