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Was the problem with Kgosi or the ISS Act, 2007? (Part III)

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

In this part of our series, we deal with sections 18 to 21(7) of the Intelligence Services Act, 2007(“the Act”). Section 18 of the Act provides that a person who- (a) not being a member of staff of the Directorate, by words, conduct or demeanour falsely represents himself or herself to be such a member of staff; (b) exercises or attempts to exercise undue influence over a member of staff of the Directorate which is calculated to prevent such member of staff from carrying out his or her duties or encouraging him or her to perform any act which is in conflict with his or her duties; or (c) is an accomplice to the commission of any act whereby any lawful order given to any officer or support staff or any regulation or directive or other rule may be evaded, shall be guilty of an offence.

This section cannot be faulted for it intends to punish those who, for malevolent reasons, may want to represent themselves as members of the Directorate, exert undue influence on them or are accomplices to action that results in evasion of lawful orders, regulations, directives or other rules given to any officer or support staff the Directorate.

Section 19 provides that a person who discloses the identity of another person which he or she has obtained or to which he or she has had access by virtue of- (a) the performance of his or her duties or functions under this Act; or (b) his or her position as a person who holds or has held any office in the Directorate, and from which the identity of any person who- (i) is or was a confidential source of information to the Directorate, or (ii) is or was an officer or support staff engaged in covert operational activities of the Directorate, can be inferred, and who discloses such information to any person other than a person to whom he or she is authorised to disclose it or to whom it may lawfully be disclosed, shall be guilty of an offence. 

This section, too, cannot be faulted. As stated in part I and II of this series, protection of sources and methods is integral for the efficacy of such security and intelligence agencies as the DISS. Without such protection informants’ lives may be at risk. Also, people would not be willing to assist the DISS with the intelligence which is its life blood. 

Section 20(1) provides that without prejudice to any other written law, an officer or support staff shall not disclose or use any information gained by him or her by virtue of his or her employment otherwise than in the strict course of his or her official duties or with the authority of the DG. This section, too, cannot be faulted. It protects members of the public from disclosure of information gathered by DISS staff about them. It also protects them against use of such information by DISS staff outside the line of duty.

Section 20 (2) provides that no officer or support staff shall be required to produce, before any public body other than a Parliamentary Committee(PC) established under the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, any document or other evidence where- (a) it is certified by the DG- (i) that the document or other evidence belongs to a class of documents or evidence, the production of which is injurious to public interest, or (ii) that disclosure of the evidence or of the contents of the document will be injurious to public interest; or (b) the Central Intelligence Committee (CIC) certifies- (i) that the document or other evidence belongs to a class the production of which is prejudicial to national security, or (ii) that disclosure of the evidence or of the contents of the document will be prejudicial to national security.

The question is: was the former Director General of the DISS following the prescripts of the Act when he refused to answer questions relating to the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament citing national security? The answer is in the negative. Kgosi had no lawful excuse to refuse answering such questions because section 20 (2) of the Act enjoined him to answer the questions. If he believed the information was sensitive the answers could have been given in camera. 

Section 20 (3) provides that a person aggrieved by a decision of the DG or the CIC may apply to the High Court for determination whether the production, or the disclosure of the contents, of the document or other evidence would be injurious to the public interest or, as the case may be, prejudicial to national security. To the extent that the prohibition of disclosure does not relate to a PAC established under the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, this section, too, cannot be faulted, especially that it provides for review by the High Court of the decision of the DG and the CIC.

Section 20 (4) provides that a person who, by warrant, is authorised to obtain or seize any information, material, record, document or thing or any other source material or is requested to give any information, material, record, document or thing or any other source material or to make the services of other persons available to the Directorate shall not disclose the warrant, or disclose or use any information gained by or conveyed to him or her when acting pursuant to the warrant, otherwise than as authorised by the warrant or by the DG.

Section 20 (5) provides that a person who acquires knowledge of any information knowing that it was gained as a result of any warrant or seizure in accordance with such warrant shall not disclose that information otherwise than in the course of his or her duties. Section 20 (6) provides that a person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

Sections 20(4), 20(5) and 20(6) cannot be faulted because they protect members of the public from having information collected about them through warrants of search, for instance, disclosed willy-nilly, violating their right to privacy. Section 21 (1) provides that an officer or support staff authorised in that behalf by the DG may, without warrant, arrest a person if he or she reasonably suspects that that person has committed or is about to commit an offence referred to in this Act.

This section, too, cannot be faulted. It would not make sense to let a person commit an offence, for instance, simply because a DISS officer or support staff has no warrant of arrest.  Section 21 (2) provides that where, during an investigation by an officer or support staff, of a suspected offence, another offence is disclosed, the officer or support staff may, without warrant, arrest a person if he or she reasonably suspects that such person is guilty of that other offence, and he or she reasonably suspects that such other offence was connected with, or that either directly or indirectly its commission was facilitated by, the suspected offence.

This section, too, cannot be faulted. It would not make sense for a DISS officer or support staff to fail to arrest a person when another offence is disclosed during an investigation simply because he has no warrant for such newly disclosed offence, but has one for a suspected offence.

Section 21 (3) provides that an officer or support staff may- (a) use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in effecting an arrest under this section; and (b) for the purpose of effecting an arrest, enter and search any premises or place if he or she has reason to believe that there is in the premises or place a person who is to be arrested.

This section, too, cannot be faulted because, in some instances, suspects resist arrest and even exercise violence which, if not met by reasonable force, may imperil the life of not only the DISS agents, but also that of members of the public.  Section 21 (4) provides that an officer or support staff shall not enter any premises or place under subsection (3) unless the officer or support staff has first stated that he or she is an officer or support staff and the purpose for which he or she seeks entry and produced his or her identity card to any person requesting its production.

This section, too, cannot be faulted because it protects members of the public from criminals who may use the guise of the DISS to commit crimes and terrorize people. Section 21 (5) provides that on compliance with the provisions of subsection (4), the officer or support staff may enter the premises or place by force, if necessary. This section, too, cannot be faulted because sometimes the use of force is necessary, especially for criminals who may resist entry to avoid collection of evidence and to avoid arrest.

Section 21 (6) provides that where an officer or any support staff has arrested a person under this section, he or she may- (a) search that person and the premises or place in which that person was arrested; (b) seize and detain anything which such officer or support staff has reason to believe to be, or to contain, evidence of any of the offences referred to in this Act. This section, too, cannot be faulted. Section 21 (7) provides that a person referred to in subsection (6) shall only be searched by a person of the same sex. This section, too, cannot be faulted since it respects the privacy of person for the person searched.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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