- Soldiers given up to December to have cleared their loans
- Punitive measures for those who fail to abide by directive
Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo has warned soldiers against borrowing money from ‘‘organisations of political character and trade unions’’
The Botswana Gazette is in possession of a memo referenced O/HQ/J1/1/3, dated July 6th, 2018 in which the BDF Commander warms his charges against dealing with external organisations of political character. ‘‘Section 150 (1) of the BDF Act No.3 of 2018 prohibits members from engaging in active participation in politics,’’ Lieutenant General Segokgo wrote in the internal memo. The army boss indicated that it has been brought to his attention that although BDF members have at their disposal lending institutions such as commercial banks and the internal Welfare Trust Fund, soldiers still borrow money in the form of long and short term loans from organisations of “political character”; Trade Unions and Employers Organisations.
Segokgo advised members of the army that with a view to improve their welfare, the BDF High Command has from time to time entered into agreements with various financial institutions to provide loans to the members at reduced interest rates.
Explaining what it entails for an organisation to be deemed political, Segokgo wrote, ‘‘A trade union or employers’ organisation shall, for the purposes of the sub regulation be deemed to be a movement or organisation of a political character’’. He warned therefore that any financial assistance to members of the Defence Force by any institution of a Trade Union or an Employers’ Organisation shall be deemed as active participation in politics by a member of the BDF. ‘‘Such conduct expressly violates the cited statutory provisions above and undermines Good Order and Military Discipline in the Force’’, the army commander warned.
Segokgo threatened that any failure to abide by the directive would attract disciplinary action against offending BDF personnel. He ordered BDF members to desist from dealing with trade unions and gave those who have already borrowed money from trade unions up to the 31st December 2018 to have settled such loans, ‘‘failing which punitive measures shall be taken against them’’.