Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has recently expressed the need to thoroughly look back into some medical and physical requirements when vetting individuals seeking to enlist in the army.
Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee recently, BDF Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo, assured the committee that employment conditions will be relaxed to accommodate certain prohibitions including individuals with tattoos that are not visible to the open eye when in uniform.
He added that they need to take into consideration factors that are appealing and inspiring to the youth of today, while still maintaining the level of discipline required by the organization.
“I have come to learn that in other jurisdictions they allow tattoos at a certain level or rank. However the tattoos should not be visible to the open space; as such I think this is something we should really reflect back on and not shoot ourselves in the foot. We want to create more room for hiring more youths,” Segokgo said.
While he admitted that an individual’s physique was a vital factor in the vetting process, Lt. General Segokgo parried away suggestions by Member of Parliament for Tonota- Pono Moatlhodi that an individual’s HIV/AIDS status still remained a hindrance to an employment opportunity in the BDF.
“Too short, yes indeed it’s true that we send back people who are too short because the burden that we carry must not be below their back. This is to protect their health. Even weapons and equipment is usually a standard range that is being used. But as for individuals who are affected by HIV it only becomes an issue when the virus limits them to be physically fit. Other than that we do not discriminate against them. Such rumors are not true,” Segokgo explained.
The BDF Commander further explained that they intend to further reflect on certain medical and physical examinations conducted in the vetting process.
He however said it is something that can be done by Botswana Defense force without the intervention of the parliament floor.