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UDC reports Magosi to Ombudsman

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.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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