Kasane — Minister of Presidential, Affairs Governance and Public Administration, Mr Eric Molale has urged delegates at the just ended 26th Botswana-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security to take these meetings seriously as they are enablers to economic growth.
Officially closing the session, the minister noted that these interactions between the two countries as they facilitate dialogue on issues of peace and security.
He also added that they could never be any development and economic growth if the peace dividend is missing.
The meeting, he maintained, is an indicator of deepening of relations between the two countries who share more than a border.
"Batswana and Namibians are one people, hence it is crucial that they exchange information and collaborate in the maintenance of peace and security between the countries," he said.
When officially opening the ministerial session earlier on, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi noted that the objective of the meeting was to reflect and affirm progress made by different sectors in the two countries.
On the Botswana side, he highlighted that progress has been made in the area of defence and law enforcement cooperation, border affirmation and anti-poaching.
"Other notable progress relates to coordinated operations between security agencies and wildlife officers, especially for purposes of intervening against poaching which remains a problem around our shared boundaries," he highlighted.
Such progress, he explained, is a confirmation of significant implementation of the resolutions adopted during the previous meeting under the auspices of Defence, Public Security and State Security Committees.
Minister Kgathi also noted that the two countries are faced with global security challenges that require joint and swift actions if human security is to be achieved.
These emerging challenges, he added, included poaching, cybercrime, corruption, money laundering, human trafficking and the threat of terrorism.
He also indicated that progress had been realized in dealing with acts of crime such as armed robberies and cross border smuggling of vehicles, tobacco and contraband goods.
The minister also mentioned that the passing of the Interstate Transfer of Prisoners Act, 2017 by parliament in August 2017, will facilitate the prosecution, incarceration and transfer of those found guilty of any crime in either country.
Consequently, he highlighted that Botswana has started amending the Extradition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.
This, he asserted, would ensure that Botswana does not become a safe haven for criminal fugitives and to ensure that suspects who committed crime in Botswana would not run away from justice.
He also praised the fact that progress is being made on border affirmation of the Kwando-Chobe-Lenyanti channels, despite the process being slowed by overgrown reeds which made navigation in the area difficult.
For his part, the Minister of Safety and Security in Namibia, Major Gen.(RT) Charles Namoloh explained that though progress has been slowed down by some legal issues affecting implementation of decisions in both countries, he was pleased that some of these were being addressed to facilitate better cooperation between the two defence forces and security establishments.
"Namibia also knows that we still have the refugee problem that needs to be resolved," he mentioned.
He also added that the two countries must cherish and maintain the prevailing stable and peaceful situation along the common border, which is a result of the combined efforts of the national defence force and security organs.
Consequently, he said that the two countries should not be complacent as they still face a number of challenges related to cross-border and transnational crimes.
The three day session ended on October 26.