With the ongoing internal security scares emanating from a lack of smooth transition from the past administration to the new one, the nation’s fear and anxiety on security is not farfetched.
Having his official vehicle tempered with recently, the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director, Brigadier Peter Magosi now has a new problem in his hands: This past week whilst at his office, Magosi’s official pistol went missing. Sources within the intelligence say that the normally calm and collected Magosi went berserk when he discovered that his firearm was missing, demanding answers from all officers.
“Magosi stated out well that is no longer going to tolerate intimidation tactics from some of his staff members,” said a source, adding that, “Apart from intimidation, the theft of the pistol was a well-intended signal from his enemies-that ‘we are in control of the DIS and that we can hurt you anytime’ .” Currently the DIS is a divided team, with some agents still loyal to the former spy boss, Colonel Isaac Kgosi and others loyal to the new man, Magosi.
“This on its own is a serious internal threat to security for the country. A month ago, the DIS system was hacked leaving agents names, addresses, bank accounts exposed. It is evident therefore that the Botswana government and security system is heading towards crisis.” The source went on to state that internal security in Botswana is increasingly a problem with the suspicion that Kgosi wants to avenge his dismissal and their alleged unfair treatment of former President Ian Khama.
It is believed the situation goes even to the highest office of the country, where President Mokgweetsi Masisi refuses to undertake any travel without the protection of Magosi. “The president has become so paranoid that he uses Magosi as his personal body guard instead of allowing him to attend to more national strategic security issues,” said the source.
“The state of political affairs whereby the incumbent president and his predecessor are not seeing an eye-to-eye is a ticking bomb that will see internal security of the country compromised. It seems to suggest that the political games played by the two rival camps may eventually lead to violence,” said the intelligence source.
“There is a Lesotho making in Botswana if not carefully managed. The fallout between Masisi and Khama is so bad that their hatred of each other is a tick away towards explosion. Seemingly, in between you have Magosi protecting Masisi and on the other hand Kgosi protecting Khama and yet the two themselves hate each other. Ultimately, it is Botswana and Batswana in general who pay the price as the time bombs of political fallout spills out in the open.”
Magosi and Kgosi have a history. Magosi was unfairly dismissed and made a scapegoat for the missing spy equipment which was later established was taken by Kgosi. Subsequent to Magosi taking over the reign, DIS has seen a frenzy of political scapegoating among the various government agencies, and between government and service providers to the DIS, on who should take responsibility for Kgosi’s procurements.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.