President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s swift decision to appoint key personnel, among them Director Generals of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), and of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) was ill-advised, according to University of Botswana academic, Leonard Sesa.
Sesa who teaches Political Science at UB, is of the opinion that the appointments made by Masisi were rushed, therefore creating unnecessary enemies for him. According to Sesa, Masisi should have taken time to assess and make all changes after the 2019 general elections, due to be held in October. “It is advisable that when making some of the major changes you should carry out thorough research on the new appointments making sure they are capable,” contended the UB don.
“Masisi could have just waited for the elections [general] to pass. Look what he went through prior the congress [Kang], this somehow has a negative impact as it may create enemies unnecessarily.”After taking over the reins from Lt Gen Ian Khama at the beginning of April, Masisi unceremoniously fired the founding Director General of the DIS, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, and had him replaced with retired former BDF chief of staff, Brigadier Peter Magosi.
The decision raised suspicion on two prongs; first Col Kgosi was considered Khama most important official during his reign. Secondly his replacement. Brig Magosi was a man considered Khama’s enemy, having been dismissed from the army by the latter. Masisi’s appointments raised suspicions that he wanted to replace all key personnel associated with the Khama administration.
Recently, under again cloudy circumstances, DCEC chief, Bruno Paledi was transferred and replaced by one Brigadier Joseph Mathambo. Paledi was barely new into office, having been appointed to the post towards the fall of 2017 by Khama. Sesa gave credit to the current administration noting that it is evident that they are doing a great job in trying to build strong relationships with the media.
“You have to admit and embrace that people are different. We have always advocated that we want to see our former [Khama] engaging and interacting with the media, we are only seeing him now after leaving, why couldn’t he capitalize on that during his time? I believe that is when he could have heard Batswana’s cries and problems they face. Not now after his retirement through the very same platforms he could not engage,” he contended.
Sesa applauded Masisi on his efforts to interact with the media emphasising that this would work at his advantage and help him gain Batswana’s trust and support. “This is what we expect in a liberal democracy, this is not new other former presidents engaged with media, and it was a bit of a shock to have Khama end this media engagements,” he said.
Since assuming office in April 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has promised to run a consultative governance. Masisi’s chorus was a “clean up campaign, ” which would later see many people being removed from positions, replaced with his trusted ones and later launch some raids amongst which they deemed corrupt. Masisi has repeatedly said one of his aim is to fight corruption and to take to book every alleged perpetrator.
Masisi has said he intend to protect the country and fight corruption in the country, adding that in attaining that they would work closely with the media. New recruits in Masisi administration; Brig Magosi and Brig Mathambo, who now head DIS and DCEC respectively, two institutions known for the secrecy, have opened up to the media.
NEW DCEC CHIEF TARGETS BIG GUN
“In this position, you don’t get appointed by anybody except the highest office which is the office of the president. I was appointed by the president himself,” Mathambo told media this week. “And I promise you, I am so determined to fight corruption in this country. I am going to resuscitate cases without sparing any name.” Mathambo also highlighted that already he is living in fear because of his determination to fight corruption.
“You know when you investigate someone; they would wish you all bad things. They would wish you could be hit by a train even where there is no railway line. I have already started seeing faces which I have never seen before as I drive about in town, but this will not stop me from fighting corruption.” Mathambo also pointed out that he is aware of some of the cases that have been shelved due to favouritism, had the cases resumed.
He also emphasised that he is well aware that some of the cases have been left unattended to on purpose by the previous investigators, stating that it was vital for them to change the way the old administration have been carrying out its investigations,. “Relationships mess up investigations, having friends who are later called to task can have a negative impact on the outcomes of investigations.”
He further highlighted that he will not continue doing nothing when billions go missing on a daily basis. “Of recent we were told to cut our budget by 4 percent because there is no money. Corruption is really bad and requires a certain posture, it comes with character. If I sit here and continue doing nothing the country will continue to be at risk. I must tell you today that I am going to fight hard with my team to fight against corruption. We are not going to be sparing any names,” he said.
Mathambo assured the media that all money laundering cases including the CMB scandal, National petroleum fund, BMC, Pula steel, BCL were being attend to on a daily basis and that investigations are going well. “We will be taking a lot of interest in cases of public interest such as that of BCL, Pula steel, BMC. We all tax payers here and we all know what’s it is like when you pay your due diligence and another person collects and abuses it,” Mathambo concluded.
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.