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DIS Executives clash over recruits  

DIS Deputy Director General: Kgotlhane

Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi and his Deputy Tefo Kgotlhane are at loggerheads over the appointment of three ladies who were recently recruited to join the spy agency, WeekendPost has been informed.

Information reaching this publication this week is that their recruitment has sparked controversy and dispute across the organisation. The bone of contention is the verity that they will be appointed at E scale despite the fact that the organisation is broke.

One of the female appointees is reported to have been fired at the University of Botswana (UB) recently under controversial circumstances, WeekendPost has learnt.

It is alleged that the three female employees who were directly recruited by Magosi possess no special skills that warrant them the special E scale even though some disgruntled agents have long lodged complaints about low wages.

Since he took over as the spy chief, Magosi is alleged to have recruited an unprecedentedly high number of agents to the organisation. His strategy has however not been without opposition.

Magosi is not only facing a challenge from reported fall out with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, but also within the organisation. Dissenting voices associated with the previous administration are throwing down the gauntlet and have at some point made their feelings known.

The disgruntled agents have relentlessly made it known that Magosi should be relieved of his duties. The country’s intelligence organ is reported to have been unstable since the departure of Col Isaac Kgosi. This particular development has been confirmed by Magosi himself.

Some senior employees who spoke on condition of anonymity previously told WeekendPost that a series of letters have been exchanged between concerned employees and the DIS senior management.

It is alleged that in his response, Magosi has threated to fire his two deputies; Modiri Keoagile and Kgotlhane. Magosi is accusing the duo of failing him in his absence and conniving with the previous regime to act against the interest of the DIS.

Confirming the news to WeekendPost, Magosi said he is aware of some non-security personnel within the Directorate who want him removed from the position of Director General.

Magosi said it is nothing strange as the concerned people think he is favouring former soldiers that he brought with him from the BDF.

“Its nature. You will not always get what you want in life and under such circumstances one is forced to react. I can confirm that they want me fired,” Magosi previously told WeekendPost.

The Director General also confirmed that the DIS has employed two prominent former soldiers (names withheld) to join the Directorate but denied allegations that he wants to fire his two deputies.

Magosi said: “I am an experienced Special Forces Operatives, Experienced Intelligence Officer, I have done them at tactical, operational and strategic levels. This puts me as a qualified person to understand the socio-political landscape of this country. I do not blame those who see me behind the President and blame me for doing my job. Their level of understanding cannot match mine.”

Magosi said Botswana has for a long time experienced overwhelming corruption at the highest level and nothing seems to be done about it; and if left unattended the corruption manifests to become a security threat.

“Botswana has mineral resources and now we have unorthodox interested parties from outside the country and this has become a problem that needs to be attended to,” he said.

Since its establishment, the intelligence unit has been marred by controversy, and has been of interest to the media and other notable watchdogs including parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

DIS Spokesperson, Edward Robert has however disputed that there is a power struggle between Magosi and his deputies as well as justifying the intelligence organ’s recruitment policy.

“I am not aware of any tension existing between the Director General and any of his two deputies,” Robert said. “We do not, as a matter of practice, discuss with the media issues of staff recruitment.”

Robert said DIS as a professional entity has a fool-proof sourcing model that aims to find the right fit for the right job.

“As is standard, after identifying a vacancy that exists, followed by analysing the job specifications including the knowledge, skills and experience needed for the role we then start the search for the required talent. We could then fill the position internally, advertise for the job or talent spot,” he said.

 

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
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The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
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President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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