- Accuses them of giving misleading information about influx of Zimbabweans
- MPs say development is a disaster waiting to happen
- Minister says an impact assessment will be conducted beforehand
Opposition MPs are spreading fears of being overrun by Zimbabweans to fuel rejection of use of National Identity Cards as a travel documents between Botswana and Zimbabwe, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Anna Mokgethi, has said.
This followed MPs questioning the proposed decision after Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa said such a development was imminent.
The Zimbabwean leader was speaking at the Kusi Ideas festival that was held in Botswana recently, saying he and President Mokgweetsi Masisi had reached an agreement to abolish use of passports for travelling between the two countries.
Following Mokgethi’s statement in Parliament, MPs generally expressed their opposition to the idea which they described as a disaster waiting to happen.
Among the reasons they advanced was a feared influx of Zimbabweans into Botswana, overwhelming of health facilities and increased crime. They also argued that there was never consultation prior to the decision of the two leaders.
However, the Minister dug her heels in and accused the MPs of distorting information to fuel fear among Batswana.
“I have observed that opposition MPs are the ones instilling fear among Batswana by giving them the impression that once use of IDs is effected, there will be an influx of Zimbabweans into the country,” she said.
“Some even go an extra mile by posting distorted pictures of Zimbabweans entering border posts on social media. This is totally wrong because this proposed idea has not been formalised.
“Before this decision is formalised, an impact assessment study will be conducted because we are dealing with an issue of security concerns.”
Processes and procedures
Mokgethi added that there is no how Batswana can reject what is only a proposed policy as alleged by the MPs because the details are not yet known.
“Batswana have not rejected this development; the MPs are the ones fuelling them,” she said.
“There are processes and procedures to be undertaken to ensure there is qualification validity of all necessary requirements for travel before implementation can take place.”