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Magosi opens up on National Security

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.

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Bangwato regent speaks ‘respect for Dikgosi’

23rd May 2022
Bangwato

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Review of the Constitution held a meeting in Serowe this week. The meeting was to accord Bangwato, just like other tribes, a platform to give their opinions, contributions and what they think is the horse power and limitations of the current Constitution of Botswana.

Bangwato Regent, Kgosi Serogola Seretse said, he is of the understanding that the Commission has not come for anything apart from getting their opinions on how things could be made better. His contribution was that he solely knows of only two social positions in the world; Dikgosi and Pastors. He said other positions are just benedictions. He further urged that, Batswana should respect God’s ordained protocols such as Dikgosi and Pastors.

Seretse pointed out the importance of acknowledging and appreciating Dikgosi as nation builders. He cautioned and warned that, the Commission should ensure that their dealing with Dikgosi is harmonious. He called for an amendment to be made on the ‘National Order of Precedence’ noting that Dikgosi are put at number 11, but should at least be taken a little higher to number 7.

One resident, Tshepo Moloi while giving his contribution said there must be provisions of Social Justice that ensure equal distribution of resources to all citizens. He said this provision should entail an obligation that all citizen have equal opportunities to different Government Initiatives. Moloi substantiated that, all ‘Presidential Commissions’ be engraved on the Constitution

Alfred Thogolwane who is as well a resident of the biggest village in the Central District, pointed out the need for preservation of the country and resources thereof, saying “it must dawn onto all that, the calabash that fetches water for the family cannot fixed once its broken.”  Another resident, Keikantsemang Sebedi advocated for Polygamous marriage, saying that men should marry as many wives as they please. She said there is no need for any socioeconomic assessment done on men who wish to marry more than one wife.

She advised that, the country should benchmark from the Zezuru culture that does it, with no complexities. On the other hand, Sebedi said that, there must be considerations done on the Old Age Pension. She said people who earned P4000 should not receive the old Age Pension upon their fullness of age.  Forshia Koloi called for amendments on Section 77 and all the provisions that speaks to the subject of Bogosi and the powers infested in them. He said they should be made more detailed and avoid ambiguity in clauses.

Mr Tlhaodi said there must be Land Audits done in the country. Citing an example of the Tati Land as one that should be thoroughly audited. He further advised that, Election Day be put on the Calendar. He said, if it happens that the day be a Saturday, there should be some special dispensation for the 7th Day Adventist Church members to take part in voting without compromising on their day of worship. Tlhaodi added that there must be People’s Complaint Commission in the country.

Speakers emphasized the need for the country to review the exercise of ‘Political Party Funding’. They articulated that lack of funding political parties’ results in political parties resorting to finding funds for themselves. They reiterated that sometimes going to the extent of getting funds through illegal means. Bangwato agreed in one accord that they want the President be tried whilst in office if suspected of any criminal offences. This was revealed in their contributions. They pointed out that, the law should not to wait until the end of their tenure.

For his part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission Johnson Motshwarakgole expressed gratitude to the residents of Serowe. He applauded women for their kindness saying it is only them, who always take responsibility for doing things amicably in the society.

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Parliament unveils major shake-up plans & reforms

23rd May 2022
Parliament

Parliament has revealed that it plans to rollout a Community Score Card (CSC) exercise as part of sweeping reforms to its role and mandate among others.

The planed shakeup, along with the rollout of CSC will see creation of new Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Health, HIV&AIDS, Education and Skills Development, Trade and Economic Development, Agriculture, Lands and Housing and Local Governance and Social Welfare.
Parliament informed government ministries and departments that the CSC is a participatory, community based monitoring and evaluation tool that enables citizens to assess the quality of public services and interact with services providers to express their concerns.

According to Parliament, the CSC will assist to inform community members about available services and their entitlements and to solicit their opinions about the accessibility and quality of certain services related to the portfolio committees mentioned.  It said the main objective is for Parliament through identified oversight committees is to conduct a participatory monitoring and evaluating process that puts ownership and responsibility for delivery of services in the hands of both the Government and the service recipients.

“Through scorecards developed around identified sectors and services, communities and implementing departments remain in touch with progress made through the programme delivery cycle and are able to respond timely to bottlenecks,” the National Assembly said.  Some of the measurements and expected outcomes for the rolling out of the CSC include among others, improved monitoring and economic evaluation, to determine the impact of spending, so as to be able to direct resources from where they having the least benefit to those projects and programmes where they will have a larger positive impact.

The National Assembly explained further that this could result in a willingness to close down ineffective programmes and institutions and not to implement projects that do not deliver adequate returns, improved productivity in the public services, especially given the substantial pay increases.

The National Assembly believes that the rolling out of CSC is also expected to result in efficiency savings: many public services and programmes could be delivered more effectively at lower costs, by improving management and accountability, and making use of e-services. “This would yield financial savings that could be used for development programmes or reducing the deficit,” the National Assembly said.

The exercise is also expected to result in “Careful scrutiny of subsidy schemes and termination of those that do not address market failure or assist truly needy Batswana.”  The National Assembly revealed that proposed Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Wellness has been established in accordance with the Standing of National Assembly of Botswana.  It explained that the mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Health and HIV/AIDS.

“There is need to identify reasons for inefficiency and poor outcomes and ensure that health system reform improve productivity and value for money. Key areas of focus for scorecard, availability of drugs, staffing ratios, accessibility of health services, speciality care and services and sexual reproductively health,” the National Assembly said.

Another proposed Committee is on Local Governance and Social Welfare. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary Oversight and Scrutiny over Government Ministries. Departments and Agencies with Portfolio responsibilities in respect of Local Governance and Social Welfare.

“Strategies under NDP 11 to improve outcomes of social uplifment include; diversification of rural economies, development and support of small businesses, provision of social safety nets, eradication of absolute poverty, provision of quality and equitable education and harmonisation of social protection programmes,” said the National Assembly.  It said social nets need to be improved so as to target these most in need (at present some social safety nets benefit many people who are not the most needy, but also miss out some of those who are needy).

“Some social development policies more broadly should also aim to reduce household vulnerability to shocks such as those arising from fluctuations in agriculture, climate change, incomes and employment and improve their ability to handle shocks, thereby building household resilience,” the National Assembly said.

Another Committee established is on Agriculture, Lands and Housing. The mandate of the Committee is mainly to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over Government Institutions, Departments and Agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Agriculture, Lands and Housing.

The National Assembly said the average growth rate of the agricultural sector since the beginning of National Development Plan 11 (NDP11) (i.e. during the 2017/2018 and 2018/19 financial years) was 2.5 percent, making it the slowest growing sector of the economy, in line with its historical performance.

“Over the same period, its share of GDP has been stagnant at around 2 percent. The sector also contributes job opportunities for about 80 000 adults. Food security has become paramount since the onset of the corona virus pandemic,” the National Assembly said.  The National Assembly said the Government realises the need to increase food production for products in which Botswana has a cooperative advantage such as beef, grains and other horticulture products.

The Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Development has also been established. One of the mandates of Committee would be to exercise Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny over government ministries, departments and agencies with portfolio responsibilities in respect of Finance, Development, Trade and Industry.

“The sector is at the core of industrialisation aspirations and strategies for economic development in Botswana. Manufacturing in particular can be the driver of economic growth through technological improvements and innovation,” the National Assembly said. Hence, it said, the development of the sector could also foster export diversification and export led-growth in Botswana while benefitting from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).

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Salbany, Bareetsi threaten to sue DIS

23rd May 2022
Salbany Bareetsi

Two senior members of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have threatened legal action against Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), it has transpired. The threat is contained in an answering affidavit of Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo in which he is seeking an interdiction from High Court to stop the DIS from accessing investigation files at his office.

After the DIS detained DCEC officials Joao Salbany and Tsholofelo Bareetsi on December 16, 2021, they filed an official complaint against DIS and some officials. They complained about abuse of office by DIS and five officers. Salbany and Bareetsi also complained about unlawful detention by DIS and unlawful dissemination of classified information contrary to Section 44 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act. “The DIS interviews were premised on information divulged during the course of official DCEC work product, that is the Monday media brief meeting,” they wrote.

They further requested leave to institute a civil suit against the DIS and its officers, and invariably the State for inhuman and degrading treatment they suffered and unlawful detention. They also pondered a declaratory seeking a sanction against the DIS and Botswana Police Service (BPS) and clarification of the role of BPS officers seconded to DIS.

“The envisaged suit against BPS and DIS officers and the DIS will inevitably centre on investigations done by the DCEC and the scope of the protection availed to DCEC officers for conduct done in the course and scope of DCEC official duties.” The duo said it was self-evident from the conduct of the DIS officers that there was nothing urgent about the information required by the DIS, justifying their detention at its Sebele facility from 08:30 hours on December 16, 2021 until 02:00 hours on December 17, 2021.

They reasoned that the information required by the DIS could have been obtained by a simple request to DCEC Director General. “What the DIS did was to seek to intimidate officers of the DCEC whom they knew were carrying out investigations against some of the DIS officers who were part of their investigation team. This turn of events has a chilling effect not only on the functioning of the DCEC but also on the official conduct of officers of the DCEC as to how they conduct their official duties.”

They concluded by stating that in the event the request is granted, they would further request to be advised as to the provision of legal representation as the unalwful detention and the degrading and inhuman treatment by the DIS was in relation to matters conducted by and on behalf of the DCEC.

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