- 150 cases reported in last four years, 52 investigated
- Transgressions, not brutality or torture proven
The Minister of Defence and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, has downplayed cases of police brutality reported against Botswana Police Service (BPS) by members of the public.
The minister told Parliament recently that although there have been transgressions by some police officers in some of the reported cases, investigations have not proven that these amounted to brutality as alleged.
Minister Mmusi was responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Serowe North Leepetswe Lesedi on the number of complaints against BPS over the past four years and how the complaints were being handled.
Internal Affairs Branch
According to the minister, from the 2010 to 2022, a total of 119 complaints against members of BPS were received, while in the last four years, 105 cases of brutality were recorded.
Out of the 105 case, Mmusi said, 52 have been completed while the rest are at different levels of investigation and processing.
“Presently all complaints against the police are reported to and investigated by the Internal Affairs Branch of BPS,” he said. “This branch was established in 2009 to respond to external complaints against the police.
“Although there have been transgressions by some officers, investigations have not proven that these amounted to brutality and/or torture as alleged.”
Cases of police brutality have been a source of concern among members of the public, with the BPS accused of not doing enough to investigate them.
Among cases that attracted public attention is the one involving former BCL employee, Castro Mmele, during a lockdown period in 2020.
Mmele was allegedly dragged naked from a toilet and assaulted by police officers who left him with a broken pelvic bone.
The incident happened after Mmele allegedly failed to produce a COVID-19 movement permit.
Another case involved a certain Keabetswe Tony Nyambe who died mysteriously while in detention at Central Police Station in Francistown in connection with the murder of his children last year.
Olefile Moiphithi, who was being investigated for a robbery in Molepolole also died mysteriously while in police custody.
Zimbabwean Zenzo Sibanda was allegedly killed by police officer in the course of being arrested in Senyawe Village in 2011 during. He was allegedly shot dead during an anti-tobacco smuggling operation near the Zimbabwe border.
Following the rising cases of alleged police brutality, President Mokgweetsi Masisi responded in a statement after pictures of people allegedly injured by the police under the pretext of enforcing lockdown regulations appeared on social media in 2020.
The President assured the nation that the cases would be investigated and stern action taken against police officers found to have been involved in such incidents.
“The government will continue to uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights,” Masisi said. “Those who violate these tenets will face the law.”