*We need a free Botswana.
On 25th January 2022, Botswana Parliament voted to allow the second reading of The Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Controlled Investigations ) Bill of 2022, which was presented by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Honourable Kagiso Thomas Mmusi,This Number 1 Bill of 2022 will make provisions to among others allow the security agencies to intercept the conversations between the ‘suspects’ using electronic medium, , legal immunity of investigating officers and tampering with birth and death registers.
Botswana Nurses Union strongly oppose the contents of this Bill and the way in which it is presented. There is no doubt that Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, The Constitution of Botswana and in many other international and regional treaties.It has become one of the most important human rights issues of the modern age. The proposed legislation, if passed into law by Parliament, will provide for warrantless surveillance and put the citizens’ right to privacy at the whims of security agencies.
BONU is aware that other concerns such as the safety of citizens or the interest of justice, which this Bill attempts to address.But introduction of the laws that infringes on Human Rights should occur only after proper consultation and better understand of what we are doing.
Moreover, another concern is that the Bill comes with no clear meaningful independent judicial oversight. Many countries especially in Europe are adopting laws to remedy privacy and personal data violations.There is no obligation on the government to guard against abuse of the proposed law, and failure to adhere to the law does not result in any penalties for investigating officers.
Therefore, BONU advise the parliament that the normal procedure in line with other developed democracies should be that the security agencies who would wish to intercept anybody’s communication, should apply for a warrant of interception from the Court clearly stating the reasons for the grant of such a warrant. This law should creates a committee or office to review any approved interception requests and meaningful oversight powers to satisfy balance and checks.
In conclusion we advise parliament to address the Key issues raised above in consultation with citizens, civil society and other stakeholders. We call all Members of Parliament to vote against this Bill in order protect the Human Rights of every citizen.Privacy is a Human Right ,Privacy is Freedom,We need a Free Botswana.