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DIS was not serving my personal interests – Khama

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? “


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.


“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.


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.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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Masisi saddened by deaths of elephant attacks

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed a strong worry over elephants killing people in Botswana. When speaking in Virginia this week, Masisi said it is unfortunate that Batswana have paid a price with their own blood through being attacked by elephants.

“Communities also suffer unimaginable economic losses yearly when their crops are eaten by the elephants. In spite of such incidents of human-elephant conflict, our people embrace living together with the animals. They fully understand wildlife conservation and its economic benefits in tourism.”

In 2018, Nthobogang Samokwase’s father was attacked by an elephant when travelling from the fields, where he stayed during the cropping season.

It was reported that the man couldn’t run because of his age. He was found trampled by the elephant and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

In the same year, in Maun, a 57-year-old British woman was attacked by an elephant at Boro and died upon arrival at the hospital. The woman was with her Motswana partner, and were walking dogs in the evening.

Last month, a Durban woman named Carly Marshall survived an elephant attack while on holiday in the bush in Botswana. She was stabbed by one of the elephant’s tucks through the chest and was left with bruises. Marshall also suffered several fractured ribs from the ordeal.

President Masisi Botswana has the largest population of African elephants in the world, totaling more than 130 000. “This has been possible due to progressive conservation policies, partnerships with the communities, and investment in wildlife management programmes.”

In order to benefit further from wildlife, Masisi indicated that government has re-introduced controlled hunting in 2019 after a four-year pause. “The re-introduction of hunting was done in an open, transparent and democratic way, giving the communities an opportunity to air their views. The funds from the sale of hunting quota goes towards community development and elephant conservation.”

He stressed that for conservation to succeed, the local people must be involved and derive benefits from the natural resources within their localities.

“There must be open and transparent consultations which involve all sectors of the society. It is against this backdrop that as a country, we lead the continent on merging conservation, democracy and sustainable development.”

Masisi stated that Botswana is open to collaborative opportunities, “particularly with identifiable partners such as Virginia Tech, in other essential areas such as conservation, and the study of the interplay among the ecology of diseases of wild animals and plants, and their effects on human health and socio-economic development.”

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Gov’t commit to injecting more funds in fighting HIV

24th March 2023

Minister for State President Kabo Morwaeng says government will continue to make resources available in terms of financial allocations and human capital to ensure that Botswana achieves the ideal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Morwaeng was speaking this morning in Gaborone at the High-Level Advocacy event to accelerate HIV Prevention in Botswana. He said the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAPHA), in partnership with UNAIDS, UN agencies, the Global Fund and PEPFAR, have started a process of developing transition readiness plan for sustainability of HIV prevention and treatment programmes.

“It is important for us, as a country that has had a fair share of donor support in the response to an epidemic such as HIV and AIDS, to look beyond the period when the level of assistance would have reduced, or ceased, thus calling for domestic financing for all areas which were on donor support.”

Morwaeng said this is important as the such a plan will guarantee that all the gains accrued from the response with donor support will be sustained until the end when “we reach the elimination of HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 20230,” he said.

“I commit to continue support efforts towards strengthened HIV prevention, accentuating HIV primary prevention and treatment as prevention towards Zero New Infections, Zero Stigma, Discrimination and Zero AIDS related death, to end AIDS in Botswana.”

He reiterated that government commits to tackle legislative, policy and programming challenges that act as barriers to the achievement of the goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat.

In the financial year 2022/2023, a total of 119 Civil Society Organizations, including Faith Based Organizations, were contracted with an amount of P100 million to implement HIV and NCDs prevention activities throughout the country, and the money was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.

Through an upcoming HIV Prevention Symposium, technical stakeholders will use outcomes to develop the Botswana HIV Prevention Acceleration Road Map for 2023-2025.

Morwaeng stated that government will support and ensure that Botswana plays its part achieving the road map. He said there is need to put hands on the deck to ensure that Botswana sustains progress made so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“There are tremendous achievements thus far to, reach and surpass the UNAIDS fast track targets of 95%- 95%- 95% by the year 2025. As reflected by the BAIS preliminary results of 2021, we now stand at 95- 98- 98 against the set targets.”

“These achievements challenge us to now shift our gears and strive to know who are the remaining 5% for those aware of their HIV status, 2% of enrolment on treatment by those aware of their status and 2% of viral suppression by those on treatment.”

Explaining this further, Morwaeng said shift in gears should extend to coming up with robust strategies of determining where these remaining people are as well as how they will be reached with the necessary services.

“These are just some of the many variables that are required to ensure that as a country, we are well positioned to reaching the last mile of our country’s response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.”

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