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Khama’s security vows to fight back

The three Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Special Agents, who were recently withdrawn as former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s security personnel, have been transferred to DIS Operations Division with immediate effect.

Among the transferred personnel, two have been demoted to lower ranks but their present salary scale was maintained, WeekendPost has established. The three agents were earlier this year, charged with ‘absent without leave’ and summoned for a disciplinary hearing.
The officers form part of a five men team of trusted aides of former President Khama, dating back from their hay days at Botswana Defence Force (BDF), where he was their boss.

The bone of contention is that; the trio were to accompany former President Khama on his controversial trip to India, which the government declined earlier this year. WeekendPost learnt that the officers were warned through a telephone call not to accompany the former President on his controversial trip. It is understood that in their response, the officers asked that an official communique be routed to the former President’s office where they were currently stationed.

No message was conveyed as per their request and they made assumptions based on the fact that their per diem had been authorised by DIS Director General, Peter Magosi, that it was a go ahead. The letter had not reached their offices and in a bold move, the trio, even though they had not received their per diem, flanked former president Ian Khama, as he made his controversial trip to India. Their per diem however, was turned down at the last hour.


Upon their return, the three were summoned to the DIS office where they were charged with 6 counts of absent without leave for the four working days they spent in India. The former president has been at loggerheads with government over the India trip ever since.
On the 26th of February 2019, the then Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi authored a savingram to the Senior Private Secretary to the former President, in reference to his proposed trip to Dharamsala, India from 8th -12th March 2019.

Khama had been invited by the Central Tibetan Administration in India, to officiate at the 60th National Uprising Day on the 10th March 2019. Khama’s office had written to the Office of the President on 22nd February 2019, informing them of the trip and implored the office for financial and logistical support.  


“As you may recall, Botswana subscribes to the “One China Policy”, and essentially this means we regard Tibet as part of China. Furthermore, Botswana’s relations with the People’s Republic of China suffered on the issue of Tibet and therefore as a country we do not intend to engage in anything which can sour our relations with China. Botswana does not recognise Tibet as an Independent State”, reads Morupisi’s savingram in part.

However, Khama released a media statement confirming his trip to India and also his scheduled audience with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. He confirmed that he shall be among other dignitaries and human rights activists. Khama’s lawyers were at the time working around the clock to get the matter resolved ‘amicably.’

According to their deployment letters signed by DIS Director General Peter Magosi, dated 20th August 2019, Magosi said it is common cause that on 22nd May 2019, they appeared before Class II Disciplinary Board for 6 counts contrary to the Directorate Code of Conduct (“Code”). Magosi said at the conclusion of the said proceedings and during sentencing, the Board recommended that as punishment, their ranks ought to be reduced.

“I have thoroughly persuaded and studied the record of proceedings and take cognizance of the fact that there was, in my view, duplication of charges in that the charges that you faced emanated from the same facts. I must state that for purposes of this exercise; which is whether or not I should confirm the sentence imposed by the Board, I shall only consider the charge relating to Disobedience of lawful instruction contrary to section 22 (i) (a) in appreciation of the prejudicial nature of a duplication of charges”, the letter read.

Magosi also said he has taken cognizance of the fact that they are first offenders and that they may still make the necessary self-introspection into their conducts if they still harbor the desire to still pursue their careers in the organization. However he warned them of the negative repercussions of their conduct of not obeying instructions from those that have authority over them. He said such conduct has implications both at organizational and individual level.

“Failure to obey a lawful instruction when such order was expressed and unequivocally communicated to them and when they could not undertake such other processes because of the existence of such order, constitutes a serious violation of the established order of the Directorate”. The Spy Chief continued by saying he cannot emphasize the importance and compliance to lawful orders being at the very heart of any intelligence organization, DIS not being any exception. “Proceedings to undertake the trip to India when there was a lawful order from your superior can only develop a culture of lawlessness in the organization which ought to be condemned out rightly”.

He said as an intelligence officer, and having other officers that they lead in the organization, their conduct has to be exemplary and such should go a long way in demonstrating their conduct as officers who are dedicate to diligently further the interests of the organization.
“On the above, and having considered and applied my mind to all the circumstances, I adopt the recommendation of the Board that your rank ought to be reduced.

It is my sincere belief that a reduction in the rank as recommended by the Board, will serve as a reminder that you turn a new leaf and display the most acceptable conduct and restore the confidence in the organization that you are dependable. You have the right to appeal against conviction and/ or sentence to the Intelligence and Security Council within seven (7) days of receipt of this letter”.

WeekendPost can confirm that the trio have exercised their rights and appealed the conviction by the Disciplinary Board and sources close to the developments said the officers will also go ahead with the court proceedings. The trio are represented by local law firm, Ramalepa Attorneys. Another source within the Directorate said this is yet another one of Peter Magosi’s plan orchestrated at ousting former DIS DG Col Isaac Kgosi’s loyalists.

“It is believed, there are five DIS Special Agents allied with Kgosi stationed at the former President’s office. With three gone, two are left and they remain under heavy scrutiny and surveillance. Some of them have worked with Khama for more than 25 years from BDF”, said the source. However, former President Ian Khama told this publication that some people have been making donations at his office and he will compensate them for their loss. Khama said what happened was unfortunate because, the officers were within their lines of duty. “Had they remained behind and something happened to me, they would have been blamed for failing to carry- out their duties”, Khama stated.

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Details emerge in suspected Batswana poachers in Namibia

28th June 2022
suspected Motswana poacher arrested

New details about a suspected Motswana poacher arrested in Namibian and his accomplice who is on the run were revealed when the suspect appeared in court this week.

The Motswana Citizen who was shot and wounded by Namibia’s anti poaching unit is facing criminal charges under criminal case number (CR NO 10/06/2022) which was registered at the Divundu Police Station in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region on 10 June 2022.

It is alleged that a patrol team laid an ambush after discovering a giraffe’s fresh carcass in a snare wire and hanging biltong.  According to the Charge Sheet, the suspect Djeke Dihutu, aged 40 years, is charged with contravening and transgressions of Nature Conservation Ordinance andcontravening Immigration Act 07 in Mahango Wildlife Core Area, Bwabwata National Park. Dihutu’s first court appearance was on the 17th of June 2022, Rundu and it was postponed to the 07 July 2022. He is currently hospitalized in hospital under Police Guards.

Commenting on this latest development, the Namibian Lives Matter Movement National Chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti applauded the Namibian Anti Poaching Unit for its compliance with what it called the universal instrument on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169.

“We are aware that the duties of the police carry a great deal of risk, but our police has shown that they have a moral calling and obligation to protect even foreigners suspected of serious crimes on Namibian soil,” said Mudabeti.

According to him, whereas the Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) have “very low moral ethics, integrity, accountability and honesty, the Namibian security agencies has shown very high levels of ethical leadership in the discharge of their duties even under duress.”

He said Namibian’s anti poaching unit has exercised one very important value, that is, the use of force only when it is reasonable and necessary. Mudabeti said this is in harmony with international best practices as enshrined in Article 2 of the UN instrument on law enforcement conduct, “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

Our police have protected the life of a Botswana poacher and accorded him dignity, which is very foreign to our Botswana counterparts,” he said. He said article 3 of the same instrument above, calls for Law enforcement officials to use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.

“This provision emphasizes that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of suspected offenders, no force going beyond that was used by our Police,” he said.

Furthermore, Mudabeti said, whereas the universally accepted norm of the law of proportionality ordinarily permits the use of force by law enforcement, it is to be understood that such principles of proportionality in no case should be interpreted to authorize the use of force which is disproportionate to the legitimate objective to be achieved.

“Our police have used force proportional to the situation at hand. Great work indeed! Article 6 urges law enforcement officials to ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required,” he said.

Mudabeti said the Botswana poacher was immediately taken to hospital whereas the Nchindo brothers who were captured on Namibian soil, beaten, tortured and executed while pleading to be taken to the hospital we left to die.

“The Namibian Doctor gave evidence in court that Sinvula Munyeme’s lungs showed signs of life (during the autopsy) and that he could have survived if he was accorded immediate medical assistance in time but was left to die while BDF soldiers looked and possibly ignored his cry for help,” he said.

Mudabeti said unlike in Botswana where there are no clear separation of powers between the BDF, Botswana Police Service, Department of Intelligence and their Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” we have a system that allows for checks and balances and allows our people and foreigners who are found on the wrong side of the law to be accorded the right to a fair trial.”

He said Botswana citizens are treated with dignity when apprehended in Namibia and not assaulted, tortured and executed. “We are a civilized country that respects international law in dealing with non-Namibian criminals. The Namibian Police have not mistreated the Botswana poacher but have given him the benefit of the doubt by allowing due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.

He added that, “We are a peace loving nation that has not repaid Botswana by the evil that Botswana has done to Namibia by killing more than 37 innocent and unarmed Namibians by the trigger happy BDF.” He concluded that, “Our acts of mercy in arresting Botswana citizens should never be mistaken for cowardice.”

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Gov’t, Unions clash over accommodation

28th June 2022
accomodation

The government has reportedly taken a decision to terminate provision of pool housing and subsidy for civil servants as it attempts to trim the public service wage bill.

This emerges in a dispute that is currently before the Labour Office headquarters lodged by unions representing thousands of civil servants across the country. This publication understands that the decision to cease providing pool housing and rental subsidy for public officers is part of proposals that government put on the table during its negotiations with public service unions in order for it to adjust salaries.

A letter from Labour Office addressed to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) shows that the directorate is cited as the First Respondent. The letter is titled, “Dispute lodged: Cessation of provision of pool housing and subsidy for pubic officers.”

“This serves as a notification and requirement to a mediation hearing,” the letter informed DPSM. According to the letter, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Botswana Land Board &Local Authorities &Health workers Union (BLLAHW) who lodged the complaint are cited as the Applicant.

“Please come for mediation hearing. The hearing will be conducted by Mr Lebang. The hearing is scheduled for date/time 29th June 2022, 09: 00HOURS at Block 8 District Labour Office, Gaborone. Please bring all relevant documents,” reads the letter in part.

According to a document described as a proposal paper on the negotiations on salaries and other conditions of employment of public officers by the employer (government), the government did not only propose to stop providing accommodation to civil servants but also put a number of proposals on the table.

The proposal papers states that the negotiations (which have since been concluded) cover three government financial years; 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. The government proposed an across the board salary adjustments as follows; 3% for the financial year 2022/23 effective 1st April 2022, across the board salary adjustment of 3.5% for the financial year 2023/24 effective 1st April 2023 subject to performance of the economy and across the board salary adjustment of 4% for the financial year 2024/25 effective 1st April 2024 subject to performance of the economy.

The government also proposed phasing out of retention and attractive (Scarce Skills) Allowance with a view to migration towards clean pay, renegotiate and set new timelines for all outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement, executed by the employer and trade unions on the 27th August 2019, to ensure proper sequencing, alignment and proper implementation.
The government also proposed to freeze public service recruitment for the 2022/23 financial year and withdraw the financial equivalence of P500 million attached to vacancies from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Another proposal included phasing out of commuted overtime allowance and payment of overtime in accordance with the law and review human resource policies during the financial year 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.

The government argued that its proposals were premised on affordability and sustainability adding that it was important to underscore that the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers was taking place at a time when there were uncertainties both in the global and domestic economies.

“Furthermore there is need to ensure that any collective labour agreement that is concluded does not breach the fiscal deficit target of 4% of GDP,” the proposal paper stated. The proposal paper further indicated that beyond salary adjustments, the Government of Botswana is of the view that a more comprehensive consideration “must be taken on the issue of remuneration in the public service by embracing principles such as total rewards compensation which involves taking a fully comprehensive and holistic approach to how our organization compensates employees for the work.”

The proposal paper also noted that, “Clearly, the increase in salaries and changes to other conditions of service which have monetary consequences will further increase the proportion of the budget taken by salaries, allowances and other monetary based conditions of services.”

“The consequential effect would be a reduction of the portion that can be used for other recurrent budget needs (e.g. maintenance of assets, consumable supplies such as medicines and books) and for development projects,” the proposal states.

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BPF NEC probes Serowe squabbles

28th June 2022
BPF

Opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National Executive Committee will in no time investigate charges party members worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership to tip the scales in favour of the latter for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship in exchange for deputy seat in a dramatic 11th hour gentleman’s deal, leaving the ruling party splinter under the political microscope.

In a spectacular Sub-council election membership last Thursday, the ruling BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego beat Atamelang Thaga with 14 votes to 12 for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship coveted seat and subsequently the ruling party’s councilor Bernard Kenosi withdrew his candidacy in the final hour for the equally admired deputy chair paving the way for Solomon Dikgang of BPF, seen as long sealed ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ gentleman’s agreement between the contenders.

Both parties entered the race with a tie of votes torn between 12 councillors each, translating for election race that will go down to the wire definitely. But that will not be the case as two BPF councilors shifted their allegiance to the ruling party during the first race for Chairmanship held in a secret ballot and no sooner was the election concluded then the ruling party answered back by withdrawing its candidacy for the deputy chair position to give BPF’s Dikgang the post on a silver platter unopposed.

BPF councilor Vuyo Notha confirmed the incident in an interview on Wednesday, insisting the party NEC was determined to “investigate the matter soon”. “During the race for the Chairmanship, two more BPF voted for alongside the ruling party membership. It was clear Dikgang voted alongside the BDP as immediately after the vote for Chairmanship was concluded, Kenosi withdraw his candidacy to render Dikgang unopposed as a payback,” Notha added.

As for the other vote, Makolo ward councilor will not be drawn for the identity preferring instead to say: “BPF NEC will convene all the councilors to investigate the matter soon and we will take from there.” Notha will also not be drawn to conclude may be the culprit councilors could have defected to the ruling party silently.

“If they are no longer part of us they should say so and a by-election be called,” was all he could say. As it stands now, the law forbids sitting Councilors and Parliamentarians from crossing the floor to another party as to do so will immediately invite for a new election as dictated by the law. Incumbent politicians will therefore dare not venture for the unknown with a by-election that could definitely cost their political life and certainly their full benefits.

Notha could also not be dragged to link the culprit councilors actions to BPF Serowe region Chairperson Tebo Thokweng who has silently defected to the ruling party and currently employed by the party businessman and former candidate for Serowe West Moemedi Dijeng as PRO for the highly anticipated cattle abattoir project in Serowe.

“As for Thokweng he has not resigned from the party but from the region’s chairmanship,” he said. WeekendPost investigations suggest Thokweng is the secret snipper behind the recruitment drive of the votes for the elections and is determined to tear the party dominance in Serowe and the neighbouring villages asunder including in Palapye going forward.

This publication’s investigations also show BPF’s Radisele and UDC’s Mokgware/Mogome councilors are under the radar of investigations for the votes-themselves associated with the workings and operations of Thokweng.

“NEC will definitely leave no stone unturned with their investigations to get into the bottom of the matter. Disciplinary actions will follow certainly,” Notha concluded, underscoring the need to toe the party line to set a good precedent. For the youthful councilor, the actions of his peers has set a wrong precedent which has to be dealt with seriously to deter future culprits.

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