As the fallout between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Director General of the intelligence unit Brigadier Peter Magosi becomes more evident, former Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Chief of Staff, Brigadier Terry Macheng appears to be the next in lined to take over as new intelligence boss.
However the move was put on hold, after President Masisi was allegedly forced to withdraw Magosi’s suspension letter following a heated exchange with the spy chief. Impeccable sources within the country’s intelligence unit have revealed that the DIS Chief has fallen out of favour with President Masisi because of the glaring errors that borders on ‘recklessness’, sources say. It is alleged that Masisi had initially suspended Magosi from duty sometime last year  but the suspension was lifted after Magosi counterattacked using inside information.
Sources close to the developments told this publication that Magosi was not happy with attempts to eject him. Should Magosi be shown the door, Masisi’s choice for the Director General post is Brigadier Sentsekae Terry Macheng who is currently stationed at Ministry of Transport and Communications, on an F2 salary scale. Macheng was one of former President Lt General Ian Khama’s loyalists. The former President had in 2017 moved him from the position of National Anti-Poaching Coordinator, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to the Office of the President, as Chief of Staff, DIS.
When three DIS officers were caught up in an elephant poaching scandal in Makalamabedi, Boteti Sub District in 2017, Macheng was at the time heading the Anti- Poaching Unit though he did not take action against the men. This publication can confirm that Magosi was leading the team that nabbed the three men during their operations.
WeekendPost was reliably informed that former President Khama’s plan at the time was to have Macheng replace Kgosi in future as he wanted Kgosi to be sent outside the country, but along the way, there was change of plans as Khama extended Kgosi’s contract with five years. Allegations suggest that Khama had hoped for continuity even after handing the baton to Masisi. Brigadier Macheng is currently employed in the Ministry of Transport and Communication as Project Manager in the Anti- Corruption Unit.
“No one has ever consulted me regarding what you are asking. To be honest, if there is anything like that, it would require a lot of consultation but at the moment nothing has been done or suggested to me,” said Macheng when contacted by WeekendPost this week on the ongoing developments. Macheng also told WeekendPost that from his own view the move is highly unlikely because of the events that happened in the past. The former DIS Chief of Staff said a lot has been written about him in the private media and thus prompted some ‘people’ to make unwarranted decisions that otherwise could have not happened.
Macheng said at the moment there is minimal friction and discord between him and the people who make decisions. “What I can confirm to you is that, I am working right now at the Ministry of Transport and Communications”. In 2019, local newspapers reported that Masisi had suspended DIS Director General Peter Magosi with immediate effect, something that was not denied nor confirmed.
The bone of contention which adds to the already ailing relationship between the President and spy Chief, is the controversial and high profile P100 billion case involving one Welheminah Maswabi code named ‘Butterfly’, a DIS agent accused of money laundering and financing terrorism. The loopholes in the charge sheet and affidavits were disposed by Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Jako Hubona at court. It is alleged that the loopholes in the charges have angered some senior bosses in the Directorate who felt that it has exposed their fault lines. The escapes have also exposed part power struggling within the spy unit, a confirmation that Magosi failed to unite the old and new guards.
It is also reported that President Masisi was angered by a P60 million lawsuit from China Jiangsu after a swift move by the DCEC in conjunction with the DIS for alleged corruption dealings. Magosi was at the forefront of this purported China Jiangsu, saying they are involved in massive corruption and are a threat to national security. The company lost multi-billion tenders due to the letter by DIS including the P1. 5 billion Maun Water Supply and Sanitation Project and the P419 million Moshupa Hospital project.
It is reported that this move did not sit well with some within the DIS as they felt that they were now stepping on the mandate of Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). Unlike his predecessor who was employed on contractual basis, Peter Magosi is said to have been employed on a permanent and pensionable basis, a move which makes it difficult for Masisi to ‘fire’ him immediately. It is alleged that after a very intimate meeting, the two men agreed on common grounds of working together, however Masisi is still hatching a new plan to get rid of the spy Chief.
Contacted for comment Magosi did not respond even when WeekendPost repeatedly called. In November 2019, in an interview with this publication Magosi said of the matter: “It is all nonsense. My relationship with Masisi is intact. The rumours relating to my suspension have been doing rounds even before elections. The rumours are even continuing after elections. People who peddle those rumours are the ones who wish for tension between me and H.E.” Brigadier Magosi assumed the reins in May 2018, following the unceremonious departure of founding chief spy, Colonel Kgosi.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.