Member of Parliament for Gabane-Mankgodi and former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Major General Pius Mokgware has advised government to dismantle the Directorate of Intelligence Security (DIS) because the organ has allegedly ‘lost sight of its mandate’.
While conceding that every country needs security and protection from external and internal enemies, Mokgware was swift to dismiss DIS as a failed organ, which cannot execute such duties in Botswana.
“We do not want intelligence in the form of the current DIS, which is implicated in terrorising people,” he said when debating President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s State of Nation Address (SONA).
“If we have such an organisation which is hated by the citizens and you take no action against it, people will eventually believe you are supportive of its actions.”
Mokgware remarked that the ruling party should be worried by the Afrobarometer study conducted last year in which 80 percent of respondents believed that the President and his office were corrupt.
“That is a very big problem, this DIS should be transformed,” he contended. “When I say transformation I am not only talking about removing its leadership but also changing the culture.”
DIS which was established in 2008 at the ascendency of Khama to the presidency quickly earned itself the notorious tag after the organisation was involved in the alleged killing of burglary suspect, John Kalafatis.
Mokgware also told Parliament that as an intelligence organ, DIS should serve the interest of government not that of the ruling party.
“We are worried that DIS is now serving the interest of the BDP and used to cause instability in opposition parties by funding others within the party,” he said.
“Intelligence is not supposed to do so, it is wrong,” he said. “It should focus on its own mandate.”
Botswana may end up in a state of civil war, according to Mokgware, if DIS is increasingly allowed to interfere in political organisations and dividing people.
Mokgware said the ruling party should learn from South Africa where leaders of security organs have been forced to resign or fired if they did not conduct themselves properly.
“Why can’t we do the same?” he asked rhetorically. “Why is that DIS director untouchable and why is nothing being done about allegations levelled against him?”
The former army man also spoke against government’s decision to purchase a fighter jet, noting that it was unnecessary and likely to provoke some neighbouring countries. “When you buy a jet fighter you are becoming offensive to neighbouring countries because we are looking at the range,” he said.
The Gabane-Mankgodi legislator said instead of buying fighter jets, BDF should have considered the equipment they critically need like helicopters and improving soldiers’ welfare.
“BDF needs helicopters to move from one area to another,” he said.
Mokgware also cautioned against information management in Botswana, saying it may in the long run come back to haunt the country. He decried that information possessed by medical aid and insurance companies easily crosses the border.
“When someone outside the country wants to know how much you earn, what illnesses you are suffering from and what kind of treatment you are on, such person can easily get that information,” he argued.
“In other countries such information is there and they do not allow it to cross to other countries.”
Furthermore, Mokgware said that Botswana is vulnerable as business records, like medical records, are not jealously guarded by the country. According to him, competitors may use the data allowed to cross borders to sabotage businesses within the country.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.