Ministry of Defence Justice and Security(MDJS)






The Government of Botswana wishes to express its serious concern about the events that occurred outside the National Assembly on Monday 8 August 2016, where some individuals conducted themselves in a manner that had the effect of undermining public order.


Although police investigations are ongoing, I considered it appropriate as the Minister responsible for public order and law enforcement to share my concerns with Honourable Members, with a view to soliciting their assistance in this regard.


Whilst the Constitution of Botswana provides for the right to freedom of assembly and association, it must be noted that this right is subject to certain limitations, such as laws regulating public order and safety.


To this end, a number of laws have been enacted with a view to maintaining public order, such as some sections of the Penal Code dealing with Unlawful Assemblies, Riots and other Offences against Public Tranquility.  Similarly, the Public Order Act, CAP 22:02 is intended to regulate and control public meetings and public processions, by, among others, giving the police powers, in section 4, to take steps to ensure the preservation of public order.


These legal provisions and their implementation by various government agencies have served this country well, and ensured that we enjoy the peace and stability for which Botswana has been recognized and commended internationally.


I wish to appeal to all Batswana, in particular leaders such as ourselves, Honourable members of this House, to play a positive role in ensuring that public order is maintained, and that law enforcement agencies are able to execute their duties under the law, without hindrance, fear or intimidation.


Members of this House must lead by example and not be seen to be doing anything that directly or indirectly undermines the law, or encourages members of the public to do so.


In particular, Standing Order 35 of this House provides a clear procedure for the presentation of petitions, and this, and other Standing Orders, must be adhered to if we are not to descend into disorder and anarchy.












Constitution, section 13


13.     Protection of freedom of assembly and association


          (1) Except with his or her own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests.


          (2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision-


(a)          that is reasonably required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;


(b)          that is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons;


(c)          that imposes restrictions upon public officers, employees of local government bodies, or teachers; or


(d)          for the registration of trade unions and associations of trade unions in a register established by or under any law, and for imposing reasonable conditions relating to the requirements for entry on such a register (including conditions as to the minimum number of persons necessary to constitute a trade union qualified for registration, or of members necessary to constitute an association of trade unions qualified for registration) and conditions whereby registration may be refused on the grounds that any other trade union already registered, or association of trade unions already registered, as the case may be, is sufficiently representative of the whole or of a substantial proportion of the interests in respect of which registration of a trade union or association of trade unions is sought, and except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.




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