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.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.