Six Harassment Cases Against DIS


Botswana Police Service (BPS) has recorded six reports of harassment and one of a fabricated charge against the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Parliament learnt on Friday.

The revelation comes after Member of Parliament for Takatokwane, Tshoganetso Leuwe inquired about allegations of unlawful operations by the DIS such as trampling on citizen rights, liberties and constitutional freedoms.

When responding to the question, assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu said he is aware of allegations levelled against the DIS relating to civil rights, liberties and constitutional freedoms.

“However, it must be noted that there are governance and oversight structures in place capable and charged with identifying and resolving such grievances and related issues. “Five reports related to harassment have since been closed, as the complainants were reluctant to continue with the matters, while one case on fabricated charges is still under investigation. In a related matter, the Secretariat to the Tribunal on Intelligence and Security is reported to have received four cases concerning allegations of harassment by the DIS.

The tribunal is currently investigating the reports,” he said.

Moreover, the assistant minister said to bring a level of control over the exercise of DIS powers, the legislature through the act establishes critical governance structures, being the Central Intelligence Committee, the Intelligence and Security Council, the Tribunal and the Intelligence and Security Parliamentary Committee that could provide necessary checks and balances through policy formulation.

Also, this includes the management and administration of DIS and the receiving and resolution of complaints and grievances.

Additionally, members of the public have recourse to the laws of this country, from the Constitution to individual statutes, where other avenues to report any harassment are clearly defined and articulated.

He further said the DIS has no prosecutorial powers, and cannot usurp the powers of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). “This is because the power to prosecute is conferred on the DPP by section 51A (3) of the Constitution of Botswana. These powers entail the authority to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court, and to discontinue the criminal proceedings before any judgement is given.”

However, the minister said it is for this singular reason that the DIS does not, and cannot wield any power whatsoever over the judiciary in the exercise of its mandate. In addition, he said any person who can prove that a court failed to be impartial and was not independent in determining a matter has legal recourse, and he encourages any person who has experienced such to come forward to seek redress.

On whether Parliament is fully exercising its oversight role over the DIS, he pointed out that section 38 of the Intelligence and Security Act establishes the Intelligence and Security Parliamentary Committee, to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the DIS.

He said the committee is to have nine members appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

He said currently, the committee is not functional, as they all know, because members of this assembly appointed to the committee have chosen not to engage. Therefore, the legal requirements placed on the committee are not being discharged.

The minister said it is odd that despite the fact, some MPs have chosen to abdicate their legal and political responsibility over DIS.

“Every time they have issues with DIS, they turn around and blame the government. If the Parliamentary Committee was active, it could take appropriate action in the control of DIS, and would help this August House to base discussions and conclusions on the DIS on facts and not rumours,” he said.

Editor's Comment
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Wearing of masks behind closed doors has been mandatory following the government’s August decision that the public was freed from masking in outdoor spaces.According to a press statement from the ministry, all other remaining COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing in schools and requirements for vaccination or PCR tests at ports of entry have also been relaxed.Statistics still show that hundreds still die daily due to the pandemic around...

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