The Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) is currently seized with protecting President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi from attempts to terminate his life prematurely, an operation believed and dismissed alike.
In his rigours of validating this threat, DIS Director General Peter Magosi has indicated that his duty is to protect the President and he will not be shaken. This week, this publication looks into the exhibits in a case in which former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s two security guards are accused of carrying weapons that are alleged to be linked to the plot to assassinate President Dr Masisi at Palapye a few months ago. It has emerged that the men or would be assassins fingered in this attempts want to use a ‘toy’ gun purchased over the counter to kill the President.
An unswerving source within the former President’s security detail has revealed that the weapons confiscated by members of the Directorate and Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) at Palapye are described are known as the Tippmann X TiPX. 68 Caliber Paintball Pistol which is generally used by the former President’s security on daily basis while on duty.
A week back it was reported that a man attached to former President Khama as his private bodyguard has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. The Botswana Police Service at the time said their investigations were complete and the docket was handed over to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The man was later named as Mike Maake, whose resume is sprinkled with bouts at the commando unit of the Botswana Defence Force; and being an agent of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS). He is currently an employee of Avante Security Services where he is on secondment to Khama’s private security detail.
Recently the DIS Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi at a press conference said it is a fact that the security environment of the country has changed and hence the need to beef up. Brigadier Magosi went on to admit that there is a third force in the Masisi/Khama feud alleging that Masisi’s life is under threat. The weapons that could have attempted to end the President life have been revealed and when interrogating the make of the said weapons, this publication discovered a TiPX Pistol is a ‘Paintball’.
This is a great solo marker or tactical backup sidearm, adding a new dimension to the marksman game. The TiPX also features an under- barrel Picatinny rail, external velocity adjuster, clear ammo windows so that the user can see if it’s loaded, removable barrel with A5 threads, ability to add a remote line, and foam lined hard shell carry case. According to the Khama Security detail source, the weapons can be bought locally at firearms dealer shops and do not require any license. “They are not designed to kill but used in self- defense. This one here costs P 4799. 00 and bought over the counter,” he said.
According to the TiPX Website, “the all- new Tippmann Arms TIPX offers the general public the same non- lethal tool that security and law enforcement personnel use around the world. Whether for home defense personal protection, or security, the TIPX delivers the stopping power needed to neutralize the target giving one time to plan their next move or call for backup. Hot pepper rounds burst on impact creating a cloud of dust around the target causing extreme pain and respiratory distress.”
It further reads: “Whatever was on their mind prior to being hit is a distant memory. The TIPX uses standard easy-to-find 12 gram CO2 cartridges. The first trigger pull of the TIPX punctures the cartridge powering up the pepper gun. At this time you are now ready to fire and take charge of the situation.” The TiPX is owned by US Personal Defense Products LLC, the SOLE U.S. Distributor of the JPX in the US and every JPX 2 and JPX 4 are all considered LAW ENFORCEMENT grade products. Every JPX 2 and JPX 4 listed online or found in a retail store are LAW ENFORCEMENT grade products.
WHAT PLOT – THE DISMISSIVE LOT
Meanwhile former President Ian Khama has dismissed recent reports of assassination attempts on President Masisi as nothing but a ploy by the BDP to cast doubt and suspicion on political opponents. Speaking on the sidelines of The Botswana Patriotic Front’s Press conference recently in Gaborone, Khama said that it was totally untrue that there was a plot to assassinate Masisi.
“What is extremely unfortunate is that they know as well as you and I do that it is totally untrue, but when they keep putting it out there, it actually damages the reputation of our country. Botswana has always been known as a peaceful and stable country and we have never had a coup or reports of assassination plots in our country and we will never have those carried out, Batswana are a peace loving people and they will never resort to that. So this is an instrument to try to cast doubt and suspicions on political opponents, That’s all its about” Khama is quoted in one of the local publications.
He further stated: “Up to now they have refrained from naming anybody because they thought they had put out enough information to cast a shadow of suspicion on myself and others of his opponents, so we are just watching to see how it is going to play out.” On the other hand, the leadership of the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) have dismissed as fantasy claims, allegations that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s life was under threat forcing him to abandon a trip to Mozambique recently.
UDC President Duma Boko and Vice President Dumelang Saleshando accuse the DISS for peddling lies to journalists about an alleged assassination attempt on Masisi. Saleshando observed that the DISS is pushing agenda to seek sympathy votes for Masisi’a ailing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), indicating that he wouldn't be surprised if the DISS stages an assassination of President Masisi in hope of gathering sympathy votes. However Magosi has strongly reiterated his stance that President Masisi’s life is in danger. “It is my responsibility to ensure the safety of a sitting president and I’ll do all it takes to ensure his safety,” Magosi stated.
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.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.