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BDF commander caught in Khama/Masisi war?

Publishing Date : 12 November, 2018

Author : TEBOGO KGALEMANG

The Office of the President has denied reports circulating in some print and social media to the effect that Lieutenant General Placid Diratsagae Segokgo, the Commander of Botswana Defence Force has pronounced his intention to resign during his appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and has further threatened to resign from his post following some alleged aspersions he made to the former President regarding the current administration according to social media reports.


“The Office of the President would like to inform the public that contrary to reports in the media, at no point has the Commander; BDF expressed any intentions to resign from his appointment or made any slanderous comments in reference to His Excellency the President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s administration and neither has he discussed the incumbent President with the former.


The appointment and removal from office of the BDF Senior Officers including that of the Commander falls within the purview of His Excellency and Commander in Chief the President of Botswana in accordance with Section 48 (1) of the constitution and Section 26 of the BDF Act,” reads a rebuttal authored by Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi.


However there are allegations that the tension between former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi has now reached the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with reliable reports stating that some senior officials are clubbing with the former president.  Reports emerged recently indicating that BDF Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo will be fired after his communication with Khama was intercepted by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS). 
 

It is reported that in the intercepted communication by the intelligence, Lt Gen Segokgo was referring to President Masisi as a mere ‘civilian’. “Segokgo was later summoned to the Office of the President and was made to listen to the clip recently.” While many were made to believe that Khama was invited to the BDF Commissioning of Officer Cadet by President Masisi a week ago, the truth is that Khama was invited by Commander Segokgo without consultation with Office of the President. 


“The BDF team even positioned Khama where they knew he would be able to appear on Botswana Television footage,” said a source in the military intelligence. Segokgo was quoted a fortnight ago before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) announcing that he has reached the statutory age of retirement. WeekedPost investigations have revealed that Segokgo’s life has been made more difficult by one of his juniors, ‘a Khama boy’, who is holding him at ransom. 


“His junior who has been very powerful in the military intelligence in the past administration is a close ally of Khama and former Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) boss, Isaac Kgosi. He knows secrets of other commanders. He is threatening Segokgo and he even gives him orders,” said a source in the military intelligence. 


Segokgo is even said to have recently suggested that this junior be promoted to the position of a general in the recent BDF promotions by Masisi of which the president rubbished.  Masisi is said to have even introduced a new reporting line undermining the Khama boy. “Segokgo just feels he owes the guy a favour.”


The junior who is said to have worked hand in hand with Kgosi to make sure the now DIS boss, Brigadier Peter Magosi was removed from his position of Brigade Commander in 2016 is said to be spearheading the division in BDF as he is aware he might be side lined because of his previous deeds.  “He is now mobilising against the current administration because he feels he has nothing to lose.”


Khama is still parading the BDF and visits the animal section frequently. “Two weeks ago when he came to visit the animals in BDF, he uttered words to the effect that, ‘ke tlile go le tlhola diphologolo tsaka. Kana gongwe le lona la tshwenngwa le timiwa dijo.’ “ Khama is also accused of faking sympathy upon everyone that Masisi drops or feels offended by the current administration. He is said to have won many people with this technique except one intelligence person (name known to this publication) who has been in a long garden leave as those close to him warned him not be a victim of the said strategy. 


The intelligence officer is said to have initially answered and entertained Khama’s overtures but later distanced himself after a tip off by those close to him. 
Sources in other security organs, the DCEC, are of the view that there is a group out there that is intending to fuel the differences between the former and the current. “People are just looking at their interests,’’ said the source. 


“Many people that are on Khama’s side are people who have been investigated for corruption before during the reign of Rose Seretse at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) but were never called to book. The former administration did not take action against them, and they are not sure whether the current administration will also spare them,” said a source in the DCEC. “They are clubbing towards the former so that they may push out the current President.  They are just afraid of the unknown.”


Other sources at BDF hold the view that the issue of BDF commander resigning was just a propaganda aimed at trying to bring confusion so that it may appear that the BDF is also aligned to Khama. “Segokgo is just a loyal officer who supported the past administration and is now supporting the current. “BDF is a disciplined force. They are loyal to government of the day.”

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