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New DISS to reverse Khama’s Prohibited Immigrants

Publishing Date : 15 October, 2018

Author : UTLWANANG GASENNELWE

As part of revamping the notorious Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS), the spy agency’s Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi says they will assess the status of some Prohibited Immigrants (PI’s) who were banned, banished from the country under the presidency of Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama.



Ex Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu told parliament in 2014 that Botswana under Khama, since taking office in 2008, had declared a staggering 870 nationals from other countries - prohibited immigrants. Batshu was then answering a question from Selibe Phikwe West legislator, Dithapelo Keorapetse who had wanted to know the number of foreign nationals declared prohibited immigrants since president Khama took office in April 2008.


In terms of the Botswana law, a prohibited immigrant is an undesirable inhabitant or visitor in the country and is declared by the sitting president, using any information deemed to be reliable to warrant the effecting of PI status. In light of the alarming number of PI’s, Magosi told Weekend Post this week that they will consider all the PI’s, review them and dully advise the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi to lift or reverse where necessary.


He asserted: “we will consider their status and advise the president accordingly” adding that “they will be all assessed on case by case scenario.” However, when asked which ones are already on the table for review, Magosi was cagey with the details least for stating that “I can’t confirm nor deny which ones we are currently reviewing but we are looking at the cases.”


According to Magosi, as the DISS he said it is in their responsibility to ensure that the country keeps good relations and cordial neighborliness with other countries and avoid unnecessary fall out with such counterparts.  The DISS Chief emphasised: “so we will look at such PI cases in an endevour to improve relations with other countries going forward. We really need to try and build relations with other countries.”


Meanwhile President Masisi has, during his first months in office, also in his own word promised to review the cases of every individual classified as a Prohibited Immigrant by the (previous) government. He was speaking at his first Press Conference as President at Mass Media complex where he acknowledged that there were a number of people who have been blacklisted but promised to review such and each case separately.


He stressed at the briefing that a prominent lawyer Joao Carlos Salbany, who was effectively PI’d and his name published on government gazette - was now a free man. “There was an error when a review of his status was being done, he is no longer a PI,” revealed Masisi at the said press briefing, also which was first of its kind after the dictatorial Khama.


Some of the notable names of those who were also banned by the former President Khama’s government include: South African President of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema; United States of America (USA) Actor Ricky Yune; Zambian national Jerry Chitube; Malawian Prophet based in South Africa Shepherd Bushiri and Basarwa lawyer Gordon Bennet.


Part of their crime is that they are banned because of their suspected association and sympathy with the opposition parties and their gesture of advocating for the rights of the minorities. Meanwhile on her part, Minister of Nationality, Immigration & Gender Affairs Dorcus Makgato has distanced herself from the PI issue referring this publication to the Office of the President which she said only has such powers.


She separately told this publication that: “PI is an issue of the Office of the President (OP), it lies with OP. I cannot do that as a Minister of Immigration and I don’t know if it is something to consider in future.” It is however understood that the Immigration minister also has the power to declare someone a prohibited immigrant before having it approved by the president.


Makgato said at the moment she doesn’t have a petition at her desk and list of people that want their PI status reviewed while stressing that OP is better placed as it deals with those kinds of people who are considered to have done grave transgressions that threatens the security and well being of the country. When this publication further reached out to OP on the issue, government spokesperson John Thomas Dipowe would not confirm nor deny the PI’s whom are said to be in the pipeline to be revoked.


“I am not conversant with information that the government is currently planning to lift the status of some on the PI list. But I believe it was given on security reasons and therefore they firstly have to see if there are changes, for security clearance and if any, that’s when they can be lifted,” he highlighted.  


He also confirmed that there are three key ministries involved in the immigration issue including Office of the President; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as well as Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs.
On a separate matter Dipowe told this publication recently that they are also currently working collaboratively to fast track process of acquiring Visa and reducing fees of residence and work permits.  


According to Dipowe, there have been complaints by the Private Sector especially Business Botswana that residents and work permits under Khama administration had stringent laws making it difficult for potential investment to come invest in the country and or undertake tourism.

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