Thursday, December 11, 2008

(TALKZIMBABWE) Khama ruling Botswana through directives: opposition

Khama ruling Botswana through directives: opposition
Our reporter
Wed, 10 Dec 2008 23:00:00 +0000

THE Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has criticized President Ian Khama for being secretive and unaccountable, accusing him of undermining Parliament and Cabinet by running the country through Presidential Directives.

In its second Democracy Alert report the BCP said that Khama was personalizing the presidency by making unilateral decisions on matters of national interest.
BCP president Gilson Saleshando said Botswana’s Arable Land Development Programme 3, was terminated by a presidential directive when it was a scheme approved by Parliament. He added that Khama was undermining the 2008/9 budget by introducing extraneous projects.

“The state media was now reduced to a marketing and public relations organ of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and views critical of President Khama were considered sacrilegious,” added the report.

The BCP added that state media was “ever ready to pounce on anything negative about opposition parties.”

Saleshando said Botswana was slowly being turned into a military state. The Director of the Central Transport Organisation, the Senior Private Secretary to the President, the Commissioner of Prisons and the Director of the new Directorate of Security and Intelligence Service are all ex-service men.

According to the BCP, since Khama became president, the Botswana Police Service was also being militarized with numerous reports of suspects being shot and killed during joint police and army operations.

There were also numerous unlawful arrests and detentions. Media reports of brutal investigation methods, especially by the Directorate of Security and Intelligence Service, were also disturbing.

The BCP said the Khama administration also posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary and called for a commission of enquiry to probe allegations that the Chief Justice Julian Nganunu tried to pressurize a Broadhurst magistrate into releasing a relative of his from lawful remand.

The Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation also came under criticism for overcrowding and unavailability of condoms when sodomy was prevalent.

The BCP also said there was no reason prisoners should not have the vote. Despite amendments to sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Constitution of Botswana, minority rights still needed to be addressed as circumstances had not changed.

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