- Justice Minister says he has no greenlight to charge them
- DHS says it considers reasonableness before preferring charges
The government is undecided about whether to charge and prosecute four MPs who recently went shopping at the end of a parliamentary meeting whereby everyone was advised to head straight home into quarantine.
The four are the MP for Nata/Gweta Polson Majaga, the MP for Tonota Pono Moatlhodi, the MP for Gaborone Bonnington South Christian Greef and the MP for Moshopa/Manyana Karabo Gare. The Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, subsequently had them rounded up and placed in mandatory quarantine after videos of them at a supermarket went viral on social media.
While the government dithers about whether or not to charge the straying MPs, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has disclosed that 286 members of the public across Botswana have so far been fined for violating measures for prevention and control of the Coronavirus.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Minister Mmusi said the Department of Health Services (DHS) had not given his ministry the greenlight to prefer charges against the four MPs. But the same minister has also said contravention of COVID-19 precautionary measures is punishable by fines of up to P100 000 or imprisonment not exceeding five years. “I can confirm that 286 members of the public have been fined for different lockdown offences, the four MPs excluded,” he noted.
Reached for comment, Dr Tshipayagae said they look at the reasonableness of the behaviour of the perpetrators before charging them. He added that based on the reports of the MPs, no Coronavirus precautionary or quarantine measures were violated. “So I don’t think the MPs will be charged for any offence because they regretted what they did,” he said.