The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has reported the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security, Peter Magosi to the Ombudsman for acts of maladministration and abuse of office.
“It is our greatest concern that the Director General has overstepped his security functions and crossed into political landscape. His overzealous body guard behaviour, seemingly to impress his political appointer has left many Batswana puzzled by the state of affairs. The important question is, can an unethical and unprofessional public servant be expected to deliver on his mandate? In the case of Mr Magosi we say he can’t,” writes the UDC President Duma Gideon Boko.
The UDC says it expects the Director General of the DISS to owe his allegiance to the Constitution of Botswana. They further point out that as a civil servant he must adhere to appropriate procedure and high ethical standards in discharge of his official duties without political pressure and interference. The UDC also references on newspaper reports that categorically stated that Magosi was mediating between President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and former President Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama. In their political feud owing to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) factional battles.
“After the BDP Kang congress of 4th April 2019, Director General of the DIS confirmed that he is mediating between President Masisi and Presidential contestant Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for purposes of bringing unity tot the BDP.” The UDC, through a letter penned and signed by its leader, Duma Gideon Boko argues that the Director General of the DISS has been visible in activities of the BDP performing protocol duties for BDP leaders. It says it is essential to indicate that the Directorate of Intelligence Services is financed through taxpayer’s money, therefore it is abuse of office and acts of corruption for the Director General of the DISS to be facilitating and organizing BDP functions and events.
According to the UDC, acting out of his organisation’s mandate, the Director General of the DISS has been making newspaper headlines boasting that he is collecting Government debts, tax and making pronouncements on prosecutorial matters. “In this excited behavior he is usurping the functions of the Botswana unified Revenue Services (BURS) and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which are supposedly independent,” writes Boko.
In the complaint letter the UDC is concluding that Magosi has aligned with the CAVA faction of the BDP and has been making reckless political pronouncements and exchanging remarks with politicians. The UDC further states that Magosi is on record labelling some politicians as liars. “This is very strange in that the Director General is expected to perform his official duties and determine the activities of the Organization in a politically neutral manner.”
The UDC President tells the Ombudsman that, “the ethical standards in public service that the Director General should be following are that civil servants should not represent or express their political views in performing their official duties. In actual fact, the Director General behaves as a complete politician of a certain faction in the BDP.”
Boko says as the UDC they are perturbed by the actions of the Director General of the DIS as they are unprofessional and unexpected of a public servants of his stature. He further writes that Magosi’s conduct is in contravention of the Public Service Act and Directorate of Intelligence Services Act. “His behavior is in contravention of these Acts because he is dabbling in politics. His leadership style borders on bullying and intimidating opponents of the President, to ingratiate himself. In the midst of this unprofessional acts, the Director General’s salary was increased by the President clearly as an indication of reward for his behavior, which we find disturbing,” says Boko of the UDC.
Boko says the Director General should desist from engaging in political activities and acts that are contrary to the legitimate performance of their official duties. “Furthermore Mr Magosi and his organization as part of the public administration should conduct themselves professionally to give Batswana confidence in the reputation of the DIS.” The UDC says it sees the role of the Director General of the DIS as much more strategic and advisory not operational as he is currently behaving.
“We consequently call upon your office tom investigate these acts of serious instances of abuse of office and maladministration which has compromised the integrity of the office of the Director General of the Intelligence Services itself. It is our greatest hope that you will expeditiously act on this matter in the best interest of the public,” concludes Duma Boko. A few weeks before he ascended to the Presidency on April 1st 2018, President Dr Masisi fired the then DIS Director General, Isaac Seabelo Kgosi and had him replaced with Magosi.
At the time Kgosi was regarded as the most powerful man in Botswana. When the DIS was established in 2008 under the stewardship of Former President Dr Ian Khama, Kgosi was appointed its founding Director General responsible for direction, control, administration and expenditure of the Directorate. The man who President Khama had fired from the army, Magosi was brought in as Kgosi’s substitute to head the Directorate and observers started reading revenge and reversals.
Ever since his appointment Magosi has been a very busy man, conducting operations and searches all targeted at former President Khama’s alleged allies a move that some labelled a ‘political witch-hunt’. But the emphasis over time has been the catch phrase, “rule of law”. It is Magosi who arrested Kgosi in what was termed ‘Hollywood style arrest’ at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport when the former Director General was arriving from an international trip in India. Kgosi has not been charged in connection with the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal which he is heavily linked but he has been slapped with a rehearsal charge of exposing the identities of DIS operatives.
In executing his duties, Magosi has seemingly won President Dr Masisi’s heart and has become a trusted man. Lately he has been labelled by some as the President’s personal security. He is seen following the president around at various functions and at times he is seen acting the role of ADC. He is also seen in political events where the president is in attendance a method which his predecessor Isaac Kgosi never adopted. But Kgosi on the other hand was seen as too close to be President and it was well known that they are personal friends. The UDC wants the Ombudsman to investigate Magosi and take appropriate remedial action.
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.