Dissenting voices associated with the previous administration at the country’s spy agency, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) are throwing down the gauntlet and want their boss, Brigadier Peter Magosi relieved of his duties as the chief spy.
Magosi is the current Director General of the DIS after taking over from Colonel Isaac Kgosi, who was fired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi barely a month after becoming President in 2018. The country’s intelligence organ is reported to be facing a lot of challenges following the arrival Magosi, the development which has been confirmed by the intelligence chief himself. According to sources within the DIS, some agents want Magosi fired from his position as the Director General because they believe that he is incompetent and lacks necessary experience to lead the organisation.
Some senior employees who spoke on condition of anonymity told WeekendPost that a series of letters have been exchanged between concerned employees and the DIS senior management. It is alleged that in his response, Magosi has threated to fire his two deputies; Modiri Keoagile and Tefo Kgotlhane. Magosi is accusing the duo of failing him in his absence and conniving with the previous regime to act against the interest of the DIS.
It is reported that DIS has recently employed two prominent ex- soldiers who have already assumed duty at senior managerial level. Even though their roles have not been clearly outlined, it is believed that one of them will be tasked with the responsibility of managing the DIS fleet. The recent commotion at the DIS however is blamed on Magosi who is believed to have shifted his focus to just pleasing Masisi, rather than intelligence matters affecting the organisation.
Early this year WeekendPost reported that President Masisi silently promoted Magosi to a super scale moving him from F1 to F0 but leaving behind his two deputies, a move that triggered distraught amongst his employees who still complain about low salaries amongst other things. It is also alleged that with the absence of Magosi on the ground, the organisation is marred by distrust, with cases of backstabbing, jealousy and falsehood rampant.
It is alleged that the officers have appealed for the return of Isaac Kgosi. Having been at the helm of the institution since its inception in 2008, Kgosi is the mastermind behind the spy agency. Kgosi is currently in Malaysia seeking medical attention after complaining of back pains for a long time now.
An ally of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, Kgosi was for a long time part of Khama’s inner circle and was relieved off his duties four years before seeing out his contract. The 60 year-old Kgosi has always been marred by controversy – his person being implicated in a number of corruption cases, and was replaced by his long-time nemesis, Magosi.
Contrary to his background, Magosi’s name was under the spotlight for his alleged hand in the infamous killing of John Kalafatis and later the missing spy equipment and was fired by Khama back in 2016 from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Chief of Staff and Commander of Ground Forces position. Confirming the news to WeekendPost Magosi said he is aware of some non-security personnel within the Directorate who want him removed from the position of Director General.
Magosi said it is nothing strange as the concerned people think he is favouring some ex-soldiers that he brought with him from the BDF. “Its nature. You will not always get what you want in life and under such circumstances one is forced to react. I can confirm that they want me fired,” said Magosi. The Director General also confirmed that the DIS has employed two prominent ex- soldiers (names withheld) to join the Directorate but denied allegations that he wants to fire his two deputies.
However, Magosi said the roles and names of the two ex- soldiers could not be made public according to the DIS act as this will expose them to danger. According to Magosi this is operational information that he could not share. The Director General also confirmed that his institution is still divided as there are some people who are still loyal and conniving with the previous regime. It is alleged that some of Magosi’s officers are still loyal to Isaac Kgosi and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and hence are calling for Kgosi’s return.
In an interview with WeekendPost early this year Magosi said: “I am an experienced Special Forces Operatives, Experienced Intelligence Officer, I have done them at tactical, operational and strategic levels. This put me as a qualified person to understand the socio- political landscape of this country. I do not blame those who see me behind the President and blame for doing my job. Their level of understanding cannot match mine.”
Magosi said Botswana has for a long time experienced overwhelming corruption at the highest level and nothing seems to be done about it; and if left unattended the corruption manifests to become a security threat. “Botswana has mineral resources and now we have unorthodox interested parties from outside the country and this has become a problem that needs to be attended to,” he said. Since its establishment, the intelligence unit has been marred by controversy, and has been of interest to the media and other notable watchdogs including parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) continues to face more troubles both from former soldiers and its incumbents.
Diploma holders are the latest cohort of disgruntled soldiers who are expressing their grievances occasioned by irregularities in the BDF payment structures. According to a report compiled by concerned BDF employees, diploma holders claim that BDF pays both diploma and BGCSE/Form 5 holders the same basic salary, a norm they consider as unfair and unfavourable to them.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.