GABORONE- Botswana (PANA) -- Junior officers of the Botswana Defence Force who have threatened to mutiny over inadequate pay would be granted salary hikes next April, the local press reported Thursday in Gaborone.
"Come April 2002, members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) below the rank of Brigadier will smile all the way to the bank," Mmegi Monitor quoted BDF commander Lt-Gen Louis Matshwenyego Fischer as saying.
It said the development follows an adoption of a new pay structure, which is expected to harmonise wages in the BDF.
Junior BDF officers have in recent months become quite restive over what they saw as unfair pay structures in the military and irregular recruitment practices.
The soldiers once threatened to mutiny and to kill President Festus Mogae and Fischer.
Six soldiers were arrested after a military kitchen and bus were razed by mysterious fires amidst heightened tensions in their camp.
However, Fischer said the proposed pay increase had no connection with the soldiers' demands, explaining: "The BDF was correcting a longstanding anomaly in salary structures.
" Meanwhile, the Sun newspaper believes that Botswana will be one of the countries under the spotlight at the Durban conference on racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination because it outlaws homosexuality and lesbianism.
"Botswana's stand on homosexuality might come under the spotlight since pressure was exerted on the conference to include sexual orientation in the declaration and programme of action as a ground related to racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia," it suggests.