Former President, Lt. Ian Khama has dismissed allegations that he and his allies formed the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to steal millions from the country’s purse and serve their personal interests while impoverishing the rest of the nation.
He told WeekendPost in an exclusive interview on Thursday that, “A lot of it is just perception. If the DIS was for my personal benefit, how did I benefit personally? How do you benefit from the department like that? When people make accusations like that, they must come up with facts and figures to support them,” he said. He further rubbished reports that his DIS was useless. “They are saying that because they don’t know what it did and they don’t know what it achieved.”
He stated that the DIS has done a lot to protect the nation. “I know what the DIS was doing in terms of securing this nation’s interests, and not my interests. Unfortunately because it is an intelligence organization, one cannot go public and say they did this and that, lest people who would be enemies of this state would get to know what they are doing and maybe that is one of the problems because the intelligence service is not able to share with the public what they do day to day.”
The former president however shed light on international terrorism threats. “I will share with you a little on international terrorism. When it is becoming too hot for them in certain countries, they skip and they go to other countries where they think there is not that kind of that problem.”
“Those are things that DIS have to monitor, because if you don’t and if you are not watching people and cooperating with other intelligence organs around the world, you would find that Botswana then becomes a target for such people. Recently in Mozambique, people were decapitated by radicals in that country in the name of the religion,” he said. He also noted that countries life is such that the focus in on their own agendas, and do not care about people’s lives.
“So we have to ensure that does not happen in this country. There is international crime, money laundering, drug trafficking, cross border crime in other areas. I just don’t know where the perception comes from that the DIS was there to protect my interest…How? “
DIS IS NOT MY BRAIN CHILD
Interestingly, the former president revealed that the DIS was not his brain child, like many assume. “The person who recommended DIS to me was the late former Police Commissioner, Norman Moleboge when I was still a vice president. He said it was not ideal to have the national security agency housed inside the police because the work of DIS now was done by police,” he said.
“DIS was formed because mapodisi- as per their profile wanted to be seen as serving the community and not engaged in secret work that the DIS now does. And in many other countries it is not the function of the police, the only intelligence function that the police did was criminal intelligence. It is an international practice.”
Lt. Khama also highlighted that a lot of people who were in the police intelligence went to the DIS, including the Deputy Director of DIS, Tefo Kgotlhane. Other DIS members, he said, were recruited from Botswana Defence Force (BDF) while some were recruited from outside.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH ISAAC KGOSI
“Isaac Kgosi was someone who was very passionate about the intelligence work, that is why he was appointed to set it up in Botswana,” said Khama. On issues that he was working closely with Kgosi, including in everything concerning the administration of the country, he said, “Kgosi wasn’t the only person. I was working closely with a lot of people in government. And my contact with Kgosi was not as much as other people in government despite the perceptions. We did not interact regularly. It was now and then,” he said.
KGOSI’S REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Asked whether he had expected President Masisi to fire Kgosi when he resumed the presidency, Lt. Khama’s response was that, “Whether one expects it or not is not really an issue. What I expected was that he will make changes the way he wants to make changes. So when they make changes, we must all expect that changes will be made,” he said, before saying, “I’m dodging your question about Kgosi’s removal.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.