The Attorney General Advocate Abraham Keetshabe says the law should always be used as a strong platform on which solutions to attendant societal and national challenges are based.
Adv. Keetshabe’s humble view is that the military by its nature cultivates a culture of excellence. He said in any military establishment, the priority is to plan the future and not necessarily plan for the future.
Adv Keetshabe said this at the closing ceremony of the 6th African Military Law Forum in Gaborone adding that the future must be in "our hands rather than wait for the future to dictate direction and pace, and only be reactive."
The sixth iteration of the African Military Law Forum (AMLF) is co-hosted by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) together with the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the North Carolina National Guard.
The main aim of AMLF is to bring together African military legal advisors from all corners of the continent to discuss legal topics of interest, propose model solutions and exchange ideas on how to improve military operational adherence to the rule of law.
Adv. Keetshabe added that the military today is entirely different from the military of yesteryears, and it cannot be the same in the future.
"It has to continue to evolve. Good ideas and practices have been shared. What is required is not a revolution but rather an evolutionary process of transforming those ideas into future outcomes, even in the midst of Covid-19,” he said.
The Attorney General stated that the Constitution recognises “armed forces” of the Republic, while section 9 of the Botswana Defence Force Act states that the Defence Force among others, is responsible for “contributing to national security and stability”.
He explained that with that in mind, the 2022 Global Peace Index (GPI) indicates that Botswana ranks 48 out of 163 countries with an overall score of 1.801.
The principle here, he said, is that the lower the score the more peaceful the country is. At a score of 1.801 out of 5 points, Botswana scored sufficiently low to reflect that it is a peaceful country. He added that Botswana also compares favourably with the rest of the world.
“However, there is still considerable room for improvement. In recognition of this, we, in Botswana, have been strengthening our governance institutions, motivated by our desire to remain peaceful and to constantly and continuously allow our citizens to enjoy peace, which peace, cannot be realised unless there is peaceful co-existence of citizens themselves on the one hand, and with our neighbouring countries on the other," he said.
Further that while the behaviour and conduct of the citizenry are paramount, the role played by security organs can never be over-emphasised.
"A peaceful and politically stable country is an attractive destination for investment. Therefore, in addition to legally established security institutions, there is a burning desire by the citizenry to promote and achieve peace and stability,” Adv Keetshabe pointed out.
He indicated that it is true to say that the law is never enough – never enough to solve conflicts; never enough to bring peace, and clearly not enough to bring about permanency in any setting.