- Say they have been told to find their own accommodation or sleep in classrooms
- Complain that finding their own accommodation would defeat COVID-19 protocols
FRANCISTOWN: Police officers on COVID-19 patrol duty countrywide are demanding more habitable accommodation instead of the classrooms in which they are currently being billeted, The Botswana Gazette has established.
They regard their present form of accommodation as an indication of lack of respect for them because others on the Coronavirus frontline allegedly enjoy better accommodation. Those who talked to Botswana Gazette on condition of anonymity said better accommodation was necessary because they would be stationed where they are deployed for the entire duration of the nationwide lockdown.
They allege that they have been told to find accommodation for themselves or sleep in classrooms. “Like other frontline workers, we deserve reasonably decent accommodation,” said one police officer. “For equal treatment, there are vacant hotels, lodges and guest houses whose owners the government can negotiate with for our accommodation.”
The officer noted that finding their own accommodation themselves was akin to defeating the government’s own protocol of extreme self-isolation because it would put them in a position of potentially being infected or infecting others. This, he pointed out, would make their situation worse on duty, in which they routinely interact with people without any discrimination.
“It is ideal for the government to provide us accommodation in one place in order to minimise our contact with families or friends, as is the case now where we are not in classrooms,” said another officer. “That way traceability and containment would be enhanced.”
Reached for comment, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, said similar complaints from members of the Botswana Defence Force on COVID-19 patrol duty had been resolved. However, Minister Mmusi professed ignorance regarding such complaints by police officers. “We have never received any such complaints from police officers,” he said.