The Director General of the Directorate of intelligence and Security (DIS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi
The Director General of the Directorate of intelligence and Security (DIS), Colonel Isaac Kgosi this week took the media on a tour of some Gaborone based facilities of the organisation. He emphasised on two key facilities during the tour because they were misrepresented in earlier media reports.
There had been reports that the DIS was operating a torture chamber in Kopong and that the land was illegally acquired without even consulting the community. Another report that had prompted the DIS to fully engage the media had made startling allegations to the effect that the secret bunkers and tunnels were being constructed just before elections to help smuggle President Lt Gen Ian Khama from the state house in the event of him losing the 2014 elections.
The tour started from the DIS office at the Old Radio Botswana building and proceeded to the Kopong firing range and ended at the Phakalane offices. “While some of these entities are security sensitive, the department is concerned about misleading articles and reports that are being peddled in the local media, and it is our view that a visit of this nature will help you have a better appreciation of the nature of these entities,” explained Kgosi.
The DIS Director General indicated that the Kopong training facility was legally acquired from Kweneng land Board. The land was acquired through Office of the President, the parent ministry, in 2008. Journalists and other invited guests were taken around the facility to appreciate its use. It is largely used as a firing range to help prepare DIS agents for operations such as those involving counter terrorism and rescue operations. The area was originally a quarry and it is now abandoned.
“We chose the area because it suits the purpose and it is a bit on the outskirts of the Kopong village,” he said. He explained that whenever there is training going on, those in the vicinity are informed through personal visits. The plot has since been extended to create a buffer between the firing range and the grazing land. In the offices which had been depicted as torture houses in the media, what was visible to the eye was that they were merely used as storage sites.
According to Kgosi, the piece of land along the Kopong/Lentsweletau road was an old abandoned quarry awarded to the Office of the President (OP) by the Kweneng Land Board in 2008. The abandoned quarry is approximately five kilometres from Kopong. The area was to be used as a firing range for the VIP protection officers in the Office of the President. However, upon realising other pressing needs and operational logistics, the DISS, who had been allocated the land, applied for an extension of the plot in 2010.
“We did all the necessary procedures and contrary to what we hear, we never attempted to circumvent land allocation procedures,” explained Kgosi.
Kgosi stressed that their officers had to be proficient with respective firearms that were to be used during operations hence the need for a training range.
“Combat training is done here and it is disturbing to learn that we use the facility as a torture chamber. We appreciate anyone’s viewpoint, but what is of great importance is the truth of the matter,” he added.
Explaining the role of the Phakalane operational office and the ongoing construction at the site, Kgosi denied allegations that the structure, which is on its infancy stage, was a tunnel that was connected to the OP.
The DIS boss dismissed claims that the building was in fact a multi-million Pula underground top secret bunker with escape tunnels between Sebele and Phakalane. He said as soon as it is completed some of their officers will re-locate to the site from the Old Radio Botswana offices.
Kgosi explained that he is ready to meet editors regularly to update them on matters relating to security so that they have a better appreciation of matters on intelligence and security. He also committed to giving the media an audience whenever they have inquiries.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) chairman, Modise Maphanyane urged journalists to adhere to the code of ethics and uphold their professional integrity. He said the media should continue reporting without fear or favour but he threw a word of caution that the security of the country should not be laid bare just for the sake “of a scoop”.
In a significant stride towards inclusivity, Botswana’s National Assembly has ratified the groundbreaking Persons with Disability Act. This legislation is a cornerstone in protecting the rights and promoting the economic well-being of individuals with disabilities
At the heart of this act is the creation of two pivotal bodies: the National Disability Coordinating Office and the National Disability Council. These institutions are set to revolutionize the integration of disability affairs into the national fabric, as outlined by the Minister for State President, Kabo Morwaeng. Morwaeng highlighted the alignment of this act with the global Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), underlining Botswana’s commitment to international standards in disability rights.
During his address to Parliament, Morwaeng disclosed Botswana’s inaugural CRPD report submission to the UN, underscoring the nation’s dedication to global dialogue on disability rights. Furthermore, he unveiled plans for a comprehensive assessment to understand the socio-economic realities of disabled individuals and their families. This initiative, complemented by the strengthening of existing programs, aims to empower this community, ensuring their integration and prosperity in society
Morwaeng’s call to action was clear. He urged a collective shift in developmental agendas to accommodate and prioritize disability issues, advocating for an inclusive societal framework.
An ambitious budget of P35,631,600 has been allocated to bridge gaps in Disability Economic Empowerment, alongside critical studies and the establishment of the National Emergency Operations Centre. Concluding his presentation, Morwaeng appealed to fellow governmental departments to allocate funds diligently to fulfill CRPD and Persons with Disabilities obligations, marking a new chapter in Botswana’s legislative history towards inclusive development.
Kabo Matlho, a luminary whose fame once graced the grand finale of My Star, is poised to enchant the music realm once more with an upcoming solo venture—an RnB and Hip-Hop Extended Play (EP)—heralding his grand resurgence after a hiatus that spoke volumes.
During a telephonic confab with our editors, the virtuoso, navigating the world from the confines of his wheelchair, confided that while the exact launch date of the EP remains shrouded in mystery, he is fervently working towards a mid-2024 reveal. Matlho shared the trials of his odyssey, especially the cold shoulder he received from the industry ambushes, crediting the harsh exclusion to his physical predicament.
“The scene calls me once more, for the absence has been both a sabbatical and a shadow. The road for an artist, enveloped in the embrace of wheels, is strewn with fewer welcomes and scarce stages. Yet, herein I forge my return, with the precise hour of my EP’s birth still nestled in the coming chapters, assuredly within this year’s embrace,” Matlho unveiled with a determination that shone bright.
Probed on his choice for a solo EP, the melody weaver expressed a desire to not only rekindle his essence but to stand solitary under the spotlight, nurturing his brand to vigor before possibly blending it with the talents of others—once his career phoenix rises anew from its ashes.
Elaborating on his Extended Play, Matlho shared visions of its essence, where the soul of RnB intertwines with the spirited rhythm of Hip-Hop, crafting an audial tapestry that not only returns to his roots but also ventures into previously uncharted territories of his musical domain. With resilience, Matlho faces the crossroads of his artistry, embracing the whisperings of Hip-Hop that tease the boundaries of his comfort, embarking on this path with a heart both apprehensive and ablaze.
The Botswana DanceSport Association (BODANSA) has been graced with a financial boon of P45,000 courtesy of Turnstar Holdings. This generous endowment is earmarked for the illustrious Botswana International Dance Sport Grand Prix Championships, which are scheduled to animate Gaborone from Friday to Saturday.
At a media engagement held early today, BODANSA’s Marketing Maestro, Tiro Ntwayagae, shared that Turnstar Holdings Limited has bestowed a gift of P45,000 towards the grand spectacle.
“We are thrilled to announce that this backing will enable us to orchestrate a cultural soirée at the Game City Marque locale, a night brimming with cultural fervor set for March 1, 2024, from 6pm to the stroke of midnight.
This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensembles—spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and more—in a competition folded into the Traditional Dance Groups Category. The ensemble that dances into the judges’ hearts will clinch a grand prize of P10,000,” elaborated Ntwayagae.
He further illuminated that the cultural eve would not only celebrate traditional melodies but also the fresh beats of contemporary dance variants including Hip Hop, Sbujwa, Amapiano, among others, in a dazzling display of modern dance mastery.
Moreover, these championships carry the prestigious recognition by the World DanceSport Federation as a qualifying round for the Breakdance category for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “This is a monumental opportunity for athletes to leap towards their Olympic dreams during one of the penultimate qualifiers,” underscored Ntwayagae.
Looking ahead to March 2, 2024, the festivities will propel into the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena for the championship’s climactic showdowns encompassing Breakdance, Latin, and Ballroom Dancing.