The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Director General Brigadier Peter Magosi has opened up on a number of issues which he says needs to be cleared up for those who do not understand security matters.
Before delving on national issues, the DIS boss dealt with the issue of remuneration of his officers, insisting that the spy agency officers will have their remuneration improved once the process has been completed. With reports indicating that DIS officers are not happy with recent salary in disciplined forces which left them out, Magosi said they are still consulting regionally about their salary adjustments. “Right now as we speak, some of my officers are in Kenya on a benchmarking exercise and they will visit other countries in the region to do the same,” he said.
Magosi said once the exercise is complete, they will submit a report for restructuring and salary review of all officers. “We want to engage some of the best security practices in the region, continentally and globally,” he said. Magosi said both the Botswana Police Services and Botswana Defence Force have long submitted their salary review hence they received their increment early this year. “Right now my officers are in the dark but there has been planning and everything is in the pipeline including plans to further their studies which was not the case in the past,” Magosi stated.
It is reported that the last promotions at the DIS were in 2014 but not all officers were promoted by then. The organisation is at the moment undergoing a rough patch, with concerns raised over its lack of organisational structure. “As we speak, duty reports are no longer coming on daily basis as it used to be the norm. The officers are disgruntled and there is fear that they are bound to sell information for better life,” said a source. Another agent who spoke to WeekendPost on an account of anonymity said the most sensitive institution in the country is sitting on a time bomb that might explode anytime.
“We are currently seated on a volcano that might erupt anytime from now. This is not good for the country, this institution is the custodian of the state security yet the welfare of the officers is not a priority,” he said. The recent muddle up at the DIS however is blamed on the Magosi who is believed to have shifted his focus to guarding President Mokgweetsi Masisi, instead of proving strategic leadership. Magosi was brought in to replace Colonel Isaac Kgosi at the helm of the spy agency a few weeks after President Masisi ascended to Presidency on April 1st 2019.
A few weeks back this publication reported that President Masisi secretly promoted Magosi to a super scale moving him from F1 to F0 but leaving behind his two deputies. An inside source said when he was brought in Peter Magosi was made aware of all the challenges the institution is currently facing, at the top of the agenda being staff welfare. The source also said the difference between Fana (Magosi) and Spanere (Kgosi) as they are affectionately known within the DIS is that Kgosi was hands on, mingled with officers and was in touch with the day-to-day operations of the organisation.
“He was very cognisant with issues of welfare was on the right track handling them even though his loyalty was better placed with former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama. He was a better boss compared to Magosi,” said the source. “Right now we are told there is no money at the institution but every week we see a new face. They continue to employ more people coming in at higher scales even though we are told there are no vacancies. This is what is upsetting the old guard at DIS,” said another source.
The agents told WeekendPost that with the absence of Magosi on the ground, there is no trust at all, the entire organisation is on a survival move. It is reported that there are a lot of backstabbing, jealousy and falsehood that is now positioning the whole operations at ransom. “This unscrupulous behavior is now damaging these innocent officers’ careers. These guys have devoted their lives to serve their country with dignity. We have lost our once prestige institution, it is now tantamount to running a mere tuck- shop. What is even more disheartening and frustrating is that the Director General has delegated everything to his two deputies Modiri Keoagile and Tefo Kgotlhane, at least if he was here lying to us as always it would be better”.
Magosi however said being an absent leader is a deliberate move. He said when he took charge at the intelligence office, he made himself clear that he will look down to link the DIS with other security elements. To achieve this Magosi said he needs to get all the resources that they needed and network on the region, continentally and engage on global level.
“I will be looking at the security of the president and that is my number one priority at the moment,” he said. “This is the reason why I have two deputies; Operations and Support Services. They take care of the operations of the DIS while I continue to travel abroad. However, I can promise you that the unhappy officers will not pose a threat to the national security.”
Magosi on the issue of Presidential personal security
Unlike his predecessor, Magosi is not a man to seat in the office. For his role of always providing personal security to the president, Magosi was seen as President Masisi’s personal bodyguard. Magosi told WeekendPost that dynamics have changed and the security landscape of the country has changed thus his responsibility to take charge.
“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 me for doing my job. Their level of understanding cannot match mine.”
Magosi said the country has for a long time experienced issues of corruption at the highest level and nothing seems to be done about it. These issues to humankind if left unattended they manifest themselves to become a security threat. “Botswana has mineral resources and now we have an orthodox interested parties from outside the country and this has become a problem that needs to be attended.”
Peter Magosi said everyone knows about the Motsepe family and others that we don’t know about. “Minerals have caused conflicts in other African countries but they have started at the lowest level, unattended and escalated. The general living of Botswana continue to deteriorate despite having a good income per capital. The uneven distribution of natural wealth will automatically displeasure the nation towards government. It goes without saying that an unhappy nation becomes a security threat to itself.”
Mediation between Masisi and Khama
Information gathered by WeekendPost this week suggest that there is a standoff between Masisi and Magosi. It is alleged that the fallout is a result of Magosi’s persistent move to reconcile President Masisi and his predecessor Khama. When asked about his involvement in trying to reach a reconciliation, Magosi started by dismissed suggestion of tension between him and Masisi.
“I am his advisor, I don’t tell him (Masisi) what he wants to hear. I advise him on issues of national security. The only reason why we are at the position we found ourselves in is because former President Ian Khama wants to meet Masisi one on one while Masisi wants the elders to resolve the matter. Now they cannot meet on a common ground thus far. I have advised former President Khama that in a cultural set up the elders are better tasked with resolving this kind of disputes but he is not willing to bend. It must be noted that Masisi has never refused to meet his predecessor as reported,” he said.
Magosi said it should be noted that he is not doing any of the two leaders any favours. “Right now there are two centres of power and is not good for the country. My job is to advise them both accordingly, Khama is my former boss and I respect him and Masisi is the current President.” He said he does even advise members of opposition should they find something that is of national security. “I am not involved in politics, I am charged with the responsibility of stabilizing the political landscape of the country,” he said.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.