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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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Details emerge in suspected Batswana poachers in Namibia

28th June 2022
suspected Motswana poacher arrested

New details about a suspected Motswana poacher arrested in Namibian and his accomplice who is on the run were revealed when the suspect appeared in court this week.

The Motswana Citizen who was shot and wounded by Namibia’s anti poaching unit is facing criminal charges under criminal case number (CR NO 10/06/2022) which was registered at the Divundu Police Station in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region on 10 June 2022.

It is alleged that a patrol team laid an ambush after discovering a giraffe’s fresh carcass in a snare wire and hanging biltong.  According to the Charge Sheet, the suspect Djeke Dihutu, aged 40 years, is charged with contravening and transgressions of Nature Conservation Ordinance andcontravening Immigration Act 07 in Mahango Wildlife Core Area, Bwabwata National Park. Dihutu’s first court appearance was on the 17th of June 2022, Rundu and it was postponed to the 07 July 2022. He is currently hospitalized in hospital under Police Guards.

Commenting on this latest development, the Namibian Lives Matter Movement National Chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti applauded the Namibian Anti Poaching Unit for its compliance with what it called the universal instrument on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169.

“We are aware that the duties of the police carry a great deal of risk, but our police has shown that they have a moral calling and obligation to protect even foreigners suspected of serious crimes on Namibian soil,” said Mudabeti.

According to him, whereas the Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) have “very low moral ethics, integrity, accountability and honesty, the Namibian security agencies has shown very high levels of ethical leadership in the discharge of their duties even under duress.”

He said Namibian’s anti poaching unit has exercised one very important value, that is, the use of force only when it is reasonable and necessary. Mudabeti said this is in harmony with international best practices as enshrined in Article 2 of the UN instrument on law enforcement conduct, “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

Our police have protected the life of a Botswana poacher and accorded him dignity, which is very foreign to our Botswana counterparts,” he said. He said article 3 of the same instrument above, calls for Law enforcement officials to use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.

“This provision emphasizes that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of suspected offenders, no force going beyond that was used by our Police,” he said.

Furthermore, Mudabeti said, whereas the universally accepted norm of the law of proportionality ordinarily permits the use of force by law enforcement, it is to be understood that such principles of proportionality in no case should be interpreted to authorize the use of force which is disproportionate to the legitimate objective to be achieved.

“Our police have used force proportional to the situation at hand. Great work indeed! Article 6 urges law enforcement officials to ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required,” he said.

Mudabeti said the Botswana poacher was immediately taken to hospital whereas the Nchindo brothers who were captured on Namibian soil, beaten, tortured and executed while pleading to be taken to the hospital we left to die.

“The Namibian Doctor gave evidence in court that Sinvula Munyeme’s lungs showed signs of life (during the autopsy) and that he could have survived if he was accorded immediate medical assistance in time but was left to die while BDF soldiers looked and possibly ignored his cry for help,” he said.

Mudabeti said unlike in Botswana where there are no clear separation of powers between the BDF, Botswana Police Service, Department of Intelligence and their Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” we have a system that allows for checks and balances and allows our people and foreigners who are found on the wrong side of the law to be accorded the right to a fair trial.”

He said Botswana citizens are treated with dignity when apprehended in Namibia and not assaulted, tortured and executed. “We are a civilized country that respects international law in dealing with non-Namibian criminals. The Namibian Police have not mistreated the Botswana poacher but have given him the benefit of the doubt by allowing due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.

He added that, “We are a peace loving nation that has not repaid Botswana by the evil that Botswana has done to Namibia by killing more than 37 innocent and unarmed Namibians by the trigger happy BDF.” He concluded that, “Our acts of mercy in arresting Botswana citizens should never be mistaken for cowardice.”

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Gov’t, Unions clash over accommodation

28th June 2022
accomodation

The government has reportedly taken a decision to terminate provision of pool housing and subsidy for civil servants as it attempts to trim the public service wage bill.

This emerges in a dispute that is currently before the Labour Office headquarters lodged by unions representing thousands of civil servants across the country. This publication understands that the decision to cease providing pool housing and rental subsidy for public officers is part of proposals that government put on the table during its negotiations with public service unions in order for it to adjust salaries.

A letter from Labour Office addressed to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) shows that the directorate is cited as the First Respondent. The letter is titled, “Dispute lodged: Cessation of provision of pool housing and subsidy for pubic officers.”

“This serves as a notification and requirement to a mediation hearing,” the letter informed DPSM. According to the letter, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Botswana Land Board &Local Authorities &Health workers Union (BLLAHW) who lodged the complaint are cited as the Applicant.

“Please come for mediation hearing. The hearing will be conducted by Mr Lebang. The hearing is scheduled for date/time 29th June 2022, 09: 00HOURS at Block 8 District Labour Office, Gaborone. Please bring all relevant documents,” reads the letter in part.

According to a document described as a proposal paper on the negotiations on salaries and other conditions of employment of public officers by the employer (government), the government did not only propose to stop providing accommodation to civil servants but also put a number of proposals on the table.

The proposal papers states that the negotiations (which have since been concluded) cover three government financial years; 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. The government proposed an across the board salary adjustments as follows; 3% for the financial year 2022/23 effective 1st April 2022, across the board salary adjustment of 3.5% for the financial year 2023/24 effective 1st April 2023 subject to performance of the economy and across the board salary adjustment of 4% for the financial year 2024/25 effective 1st April 2024 subject to performance of the economy.

The government also proposed phasing out of retention and attractive (Scarce Skills) Allowance with a view to migration towards clean pay, renegotiate and set new timelines for all outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement, executed by the employer and trade unions on the 27th August 2019, to ensure proper sequencing, alignment and proper implementation.
The government also proposed to freeze public service recruitment for the 2022/23 financial year and withdraw the financial equivalence of P500 million attached to vacancies from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Another proposal included phasing out of commuted overtime allowance and payment of overtime in accordance with the law and review human resource policies during the financial year 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.

The government argued that its proposals were premised on affordability and sustainability adding that it was important to underscore that the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers was taking place at a time when there were uncertainties both in the global and domestic economies.

“Furthermore there is need to ensure that any collective labour agreement that is concluded does not breach the fiscal deficit target of 4% of GDP,” the proposal paper stated. The proposal paper further indicated that beyond salary adjustments, the Government of Botswana is of the view that a more comprehensive consideration “must be taken on the issue of remuneration in the public service by embracing principles such as total rewards compensation which involves taking a fully comprehensive and holistic approach to how our organization compensates employees for the work.”

The proposal paper also noted that, “Clearly, the increase in salaries and changes to other conditions of service which have monetary consequences will further increase the proportion of the budget taken by salaries, allowances and other monetary based conditions of services.”

“The consequential effect would be a reduction of the portion that can be used for other recurrent budget needs (e.g. maintenance of assets, consumable supplies such as medicines and books) and for development projects,” the proposal states.

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BPF NEC probes Serowe squabbles

28th June 2022
BPF

Opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National Executive Committee will in no time investigate charges party members worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership to tip the scales in favour of the latter for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship in exchange for deputy seat in a dramatic 11th hour gentleman’s deal, leaving the ruling party splinter under the political microscope.

In a spectacular Sub-council election membership last Thursday, the ruling BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego beat Atamelang Thaga with 14 votes to 12 for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship coveted seat and subsequently the ruling party’s councilor Bernard Kenosi withdrew his candidacy in the final hour for the equally admired deputy chair paving the way for Solomon Dikgang of BPF, seen as long sealed ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ gentleman’s agreement between the contenders.

Both parties entered the race with a tie of votes torn between 12 councillors each, translating for election race that will go down to the wire definitely. But that will not be the case as two BPF councilors shifted their allegiance to the ruling party during the first race for Chairmanship held in a secret ballot and no sooner was the election concluded then the ruling party answered back by withdrawing its candidacy for the deputy chair position to give BPF’s Dikgang the post on a silver platter unopposed.

BPF councilor Vuyo Notha confirmed the incident in an interview on Wednesday, insisting the party NEC was determined to “investigate the matter soon”. “During the race for the Chairmanship, two more BPF voted for alongside the ruling party membership. It was clear Dikgang voted alongside the BDP as immediately after the vote for Chairmanship was concluded, Kenosi withdraw his candidacy to render Dikgang unopposed as a payback,” Notha added.

As for the other vote, Makolo ward councilor will not be drawn for the identity preferring instead to say: “BPF NEC will convene all the councilors to investigate the matter soon and we will take from there.” Notha will also not be drawn to conclude may be the culprit councilors could have defected to the ruling party silently.

“If they are no longer part of us they should say so and a by-election be called,” was all he could say. As it stands now, the law forbids sitting Councilors and Parliamentarians from crossing the floor to another party as to do so will immediately invite for a new election as dictated by the law. Incumbent politicians will therefore dare not venture for the unknown with a by-election that could definitely cost their political life and certainly their full benefits.

Notha could also not be dragged to link the culprit councilors actions to BPF Serowe region Chairperson Tebo Thokweng who has silently defected to the ruling party and currently employed by the party businessman and former candidate for Serowe West Moemedi Dijeng as PRO for the highly anticipated cattle abattoir project in Serowe.

“As for Thokweng he has not resigned from the party but from the region’s chairmanship,” he said. WeekendPost investigations suggest Thokweng is the secret snipper behind the recruitment drive of the votes for the elections and is determined to tear the party dominance in Serowe and the neighbouring villages asunder including in Palapye going forward.

This publication’s investigations also show BPF’s Radisele and UDC’s Mokgware/Mogome councilors are under the radar of investigations for the votes-themselves associated with the workings and operations of Thokweng.

“NEC will definitely leave no stone unturned with their investigations to get into the bottom of the matter. Disciplinary actions will follow certainly,” Notha concluded, underscoring the need to toe the party line to set a good precedent. For the youthful councilor, the actions of his peers has set a wrong precedent which has to be dealt with seriously to deter future culprits.

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