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All oversight bodies on DIS rendered ‘dead’

Investigations carried by this publication on the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service have unearthed the controversial dealings within the DIS and it’s Director General Peter Fana Magosi.

Reliable information reaching Weekend post indicates that prior to Magosi retaining his seat in Magosi has disabled the intelligence oversight structures that are provide by the Intelligence and Security Security Act.  The Intelligence Act in its nature provides for the establishment of the Central Intelligence Committee, National Intelligence Community, Intelligence and Security Council, the Tribunal and the Parliamentary committee on Intelligence and Security.  

Right-hand sources with the intelligence have made this publication aware that ever since taking over by Magosi, the above mentioned committees have never been in operation without any reasonable explanation as to why. “If these committees existed and effective the DIS would not be characterized by so many complaints and litigations because there would be guidance on the proper way of doing things.”

By virtue, the Act provides for the establishment of the Central Intelligence Committee which is chaired by the President. The functions of these committee, are amongst others, to guide the DIS on all matters relating to national security and intelligence matters as well as to approve intelligence and security assessments. According to information gathered by this publication, the last meeting of this Committee was in 2018. President Mokgweetsi Masisi was part of the committee during Former President Seretse Khama Ian Khama tenure.

 Sources within the DIS elucidated that the Committee ought to have been guided by the DIS on the alleged threat assessment that resulted in the deployment of the resources of Former President Khama. On the 11th February 2020, the DIS released a press statement that they have conducted a security threat assessment of all VIPs and this assessment resulted in the deployment of resources from President Khama’s office.

Allegedly the threat assessment of all VIPs including the former Presidents ought to have been deliberated in this Committee because some members of the Committee, the Commissioner of Police and Commander of the Botswana Defense Force are important stakeholders on this issue. “Magosi made some very crucial decisions without consulting anyone within the committee. He only shared information to the President.” Further revelations point out that the threat assessment never existed as it had been claimed. “The Committee has never convened and deliberated on the reported threat assessment that is claimed to have resulted in the protection of some government officials by the DIS.

BEHIND ELECTION MACHINE PURCHASED BY DIS

Investigations carried by this publication indicate that the decision by Magosi to purchase some equipment, a machine that was to be procured from a Switzerland based company was solely the DG’s decision. The Committee was not aware of the alleged threat assessment that informed by the DG that the IEC data base for the 2019 general election was being manipulated.

 Last year the DG was quoted as having said that the IEC data base was being targeted hence the need to procure some equipment from Switzerland. Although the Act provides that this Committee must guide the DIS on all matter relating to security and intelligence interests as well as approving intelligence and security assessments, Magosi decided to make a public statement on the IEC database without including the Committee on the alleged threat assessments.

“There was never any threat assessment conducted that informed the DIS that the IEC data was being targeted. The committee was never briefed about the gathered intelligence that there were plans to manipulate the IEC data for the 2019 general election,” revealed the source. The DIS Act provides for the National Intelligence Community and the functions of this Community are to, amongst others, review and coordinate intelligence. In terms of the Act, this Committee is chaired by the DG of the DIS and it consist of heads of law enforcement agencies that deal with intelligence.

THE MULTIPLE RAIDS IN 2019

Conferring to sources close to this Committee, although the Committee’s responsibility is to review and coordinate intelligence, the Committee was never involved in the decision that resulted in the raids of some companies early 2019. Last year was welcomed with simultaneous raids conducted by the DIS and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes invade high profiled persons and companies, in an initiative by the President to clean up and help promote a zero corrupt nation.

Former Spy Chief Isaac Kgosi was amongst those who were raided together with other allies who were alleged to have been involved in corruption dealings. Other associates linked to the Former President Khama were also raided. Information reaching this publication further claims that the Committee is not aware of the plot to assassinate the President. Since his arrival at the DIS, Magosi has been making prerogatives that there are plots to assassinate the President but, “this was never shared with the Committee nor the Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the BDF who are important stakeholders in the protection of the President” revealed the source.

The Intelligence Act further inaugurates the Intelligence and Security Council that should consist of the PSP, Attorney General, DG and Deputy DG. The functions of this Council are to, amongst others, review intelligence policies and activities and examine the expenditure and administration of the DIS. Just like the other committees above sources within the intelligence have revealed that this Council has never met since the arrival of Magosi.

“Even though the Council is responsible to examine expenditure of the DIS, the Council is not aware of any major DIS operations that could have contributed to the depletion of the operational funds since November 2019. The Council is not aware of any approval for the use of the operational funds to buy cattle feeds, farms, and suits in Angola and other clothing in Molepolole,” revealed the source.

The Council is also responsible for the administration of the DIS but it is purportedly not aware that a decision was taken to transfer every officer who worked for the DIS during the tenure of Kgosi. Magosi is assumed to have transferred some senior officials within the DIS such as the Director of Finance, the Director Legal and the HR Director because they worked under Kgosi’s occupancy.  According to our sources, these directors were transferred because they were against the misappropriation of operational funds and the employment of friends and relatives.

The DIS Act auxiliary provides for the establishment of a Tribunal to be appointed by the President. According to sources, the last Tribunal was appointed by the former President Khama and almost all the members of this Tribunal have resigned. This is supposedly despite the fact that the legislature in their wisdom established the Tribunal to assist members of the public who may have been aggrieved by the DIS operatives. It is held that there are so many complaints against the DIS from the public as well as members of the DIS but these complaints cannot be attended to because there is no Tribunal.

Just like the other oversite structures within the DIS, the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security that is provided by the Act is none existent since 2018.   The functions of this Committee are to, amongst others, examine the expenditure and administration of the DIS. According to a source in the intelligence community as well as some lawyers who are familiar with the Intelligence and Security Service Act, it is a statutory requirement that these committees are established and that they are functional. It is not optional that these committee must be established.

There are reports on allegations that Magosi is deliberately disregarding the establishment of these committees because he does not want to account to anyone.  In terms of the Act, some members of these committees such as the Parliamentary Committee and the Tribunal are appointed by the President and, it is not clear on why the President has not yet appointed anyone within these committees.

It is also sketchy on why the Central Intelligence Committee is dysfunctional. The lack of any functional committee within the DIS raises an eyebrow on how decisions and daily operations of the intelligence unit are conducted. Intelligence experts have deduced that these committees are important so that decisions made on national security are not central to one person of body.

There are reports that because of his inclination to misappropriate operational funds, employment of his friends and relatives as well as abuse of office, Magosi prefers to be the one deciding who to employ and who to promote. According to sources close to the DIS, he always justifies the absence of the committees by saying that His Excellency the President does not trust people from the previous administration who, by virtue of their positions are members of some of these committees.

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BVI and BIUST collborate to boost research

7th December 2021
Professor Otlogetwe Totolo

The General Manager of Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) Andrew Madeswi and Vice Chancellor of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Professor Otlogetwe Totolo last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cement their collaboration in areas of research and development in the fight against transboundary diseases and other diseases of public health and socio-economic importance in Botswana.

Speaking at the MoU signing, Madeswi explained that the collaboration with BIUST was enshrined in BVI’s mission statement, which articulates that the vaccine institute will collaborate with its partners to research and manufacture targeted vaccines for the management of infectious diseases regionally and internationally.

“As BVI we are keen on this collaboration with BUIST because it is an esteemed research institution. As a self-funding Institute, we consider collaborations that will drive our strategic business focus and support the delivery of solutions to our nation and other customers around the world. Our choice in BIUST meets these expectations,” said Madeswi.

For his part, Professor Totolo said BIUST attaches a lot of value to collaborating and partnering with like-minded organizations as that will place them at a vantage position to reach unprecedented levels of success.

He described BVI as one of the most established institutions in the country, with a long and attractive track record in the field of scientific research.

“Fairly a new university, BIUST stands a great opportunity to learn from the BVI story, particularly in the pursuit of sustainable animal health solutions which have created a solid anchor for the production of particularly cattle vaccines over long decades,” he said.

Over the last four years, the two institutions have collaborated on human capital development, through which BVI hosted BIUST undergraduate and post-graduate students for workplace experience internships.

“This is one gesture will go a long way in exposing our new talent to the real world of work and research which we greatly appreciate as an institution,” said Professor Totolo.

Scientific experts at BVI also sit on BIUST’s Industrial Advisory Board, which gives input on the development of curricular at the university so as to align academics with industry expectations.

Said Professor Totolo: “BVI experts play a pivotal role in the co-supervision of our students, another act of collaboration which facilitates cross-pollination of ideas and helps BIUST produce industry ready graduates.”

One of the flagship projects under the MoU is research and development on the production and characterization of a recombinant Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine. In recognition of the steady growth of the poultry sector in Botswana, BIUST and BVI have resolved to produce various poultry vaccines locally. Madeswi and Professor Totolo expressed confidence that their joint expertise and resources will help them deliver the poultry vaccine and support the local poultry business, in which a substantial number of small and subsistence farmers are participating.

“This effort will also go a long way in supporting the Government’s poverty eradication initiatives in poultry production,” said Madeswi and Professor Totolo.

BVI and BIUST have also collaborated through exchanges and visits, including support towards BIUST’s Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) festival. The Research Team at BVI has also assisted a BIUST MSc student to complete her research on development of a PCR Assay to help detect Southern Africa Territories FMD strains.

“The success of such a development which we are considering for commercialization, will improve diagnosis of foot of mouth disease in Botswana and in Africa,” said Madeswi.

BVI was founded in 1978 with the strategic mandate of ensuring the sustainability of Botswana’s beef industry by controlling trans-boundary animal diseases as well as diseases of public health concern. Through strict adherence to international vaccine standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as well as to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), sound quality management systems and a customer-centric approach, BVI has grown into a global provider of sustainable animal health solutions that produces and exports vaccines to over 15 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

BIUST on the other hand is a research-intensive University that specialises in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. It aims to increase competitiveness, economic growth and sustainable development; address the shortage of skilled scientists and technologists; increase movement of skilled people across national boundaries; stimulate research, innovation, and technology transfer; improve society’s aspirations to improve health, wealth and well-being; address increased demand for access to tertiary education; and enable a more competitive and innovative tertiary education sector.

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Ministers key to Masisi presidency revealed

7th December 2021
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has identified at least 12 cabinet ministers who form part of his long-term plans owing to their loyalty and tenacity in delivering his vision. Masisi, who will see-off his term in 2028 — provided he wins re-election in 2024 — already knows key people who will help him govern until the end of his term, WeekendPost has learnt.

Despite negative criticism towards ministers from some quarters over a number of decisions and their somewhat cold deliberations and failure to articulate government programs, Masisi is said to be a number one cheer leader of his cabinet. He is said to have more confidence in his cabinet and believes going forward they will reach the aspired levels and silence the critics.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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