Like all his time at DIS, Kgosi’s arrest is a political event – and there is nothing to apologise about it

29 Jan 2019

Even before he threatened to topple Government, Isaac Kgosi’s arrest – replete with drama - was already much more than a security and law enforcement operation. It was a political event. If not for anything, at least for his close association with former President Ian Khama – the defacto leader of New Jerusalem, a faction of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party fighting to unseat President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Very few Batswana of goodwill will lament the arrest of Isaac Kgosi.

For law enforcement agencies, Kgosi is a big catch not because of the position(s) he held in government or the lifestyle he lives. But because of his unofficial connections to the country’s politics.

For the last twenty years or so that Kgosi has been living under a specter of public glare, he has been best known on account of his shady association to Ian Khama, the politician.

Although Kgosi was for much of that time officially the head of the intelligence services, for members of the public he was really nothing more than Khama’s consigliere - more or less.

It would seem like Kgosi’s role as a consigliere has followed Khama into retirement and now also into the don’s new found role as the real power behind New Jerusalem.

It may be operating from the shadows, but New Jerusalem is a political faction with a singular political goal – the removal of Masisi from office. The faction’s public face is Khama, with Kgosi operating in the shadows as chief advisor, chief strategist and possibly chief financier.

His arrest will most likely destabilize New Jerusalem as his attention will be divided between pol;itics and fighting for his frredom.

And for some people to now feign outrage that Kgosi’s arrest was political or politicized is a real fantasy. For someone so political, and with such a clear political endgame, what else could their arrest have been?

New Jerusalem which answers to Ian Khama has fielded Pelonomi Venson to challenge Masisi.

And like Kgosi, Venson is a well-known Ian Khama proxy.

Khama is supporting Pelonomi Venson with enthusiastic zeal, not out of any clean idealistic convictions, but because of pure and dry calculations based on selfish motives.

Like a heartless capital markets speculative trader the former president is putting all his bets on a Venson victory, with not the slightest thought of country in mind, but himself.

As ever, for him the fate of the country does not matter so much.

It is all about himself, and except for his closest advisor, Isaac Kgosi, hardly anyone else matters.

In exactly the same way that it was when he was president, it is either his way or the highway.

And this rule he even applies to the Head of State, President Masisi.

Over the last week, Khama has been busy giving media interviews, painting Kgosi as a loyal citizen who has served the country diligently.

In less than a year that he has been out of office, Khama has given more interviews than he ever did in the twenty years when he was vice president and president put together.

And in all those interviews there is one common thread about them – his hatred and contempt for his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

In one of those interviews he said under Masisi Botswana was fast becoming a dictatorship. Coming from a man who did so much to undermine the country’s democratic institutions, that was most shocking.

That was when I immediately called for his family to seek some psychiatric therapy for the man.

More was yet to come.

This week in yet another of his many interviews, he cast Kgosi as a victim of state harassment.

It is clear that Khama’s family has not heeded our help to seek professional help for the man.

He said Kgosi’s arrest looked like a script from a Hollywood movie.

How quickly our former president forgets!

Compared to the arrests that Kgosi used to make on others, what we recently saw done on him was nothing.

It is now his turn at the barrel. And quite naturally it hurts the don.

The former president wants Masisi removed from the position of president – by whichever means.

There is a personal element in Khama’s antipathy to Masisi.

Thus when Kgosi uttered the words that he would be toppling Government, some of us were not totally surprised.

He was only saying out aloud something that has been occupying his sub-consciousness. And that of his friend too!

Not only was this a legally problematic statement, it was also immensely political.

Kgosi remains extremely wealthy. And he has never in the past shown any qualms to use money to buy his way through.

Why would he stop using his ill-gotten wealth to do that today, including buying the votes he will need if indeed he joins politics as he says he will soon!

Khama and Kgosi might have left their jobs, but they remain heavily involved in politics.

Quite rightly Khama believes a Venson victory will restore many of the illegal privileges that he had awarded himself - like piloting military aircraft.

More importantly he believes, again quite rightly that a Venson victory would ultimately restore the Khama dynasty by way of installing his younger brother, Tshekedi Khama.

He also believes that a Venson victory would save Kgosi from his current troubles with the law.

Put more uncharitably, a Venson victory would provide a new impetus that would lead to the demise of this country as we know it today.

So it’s all politics.

The question that nobody has as yet attempted to ask, much less answer is just what is in it for Venson, especially if she loses, as it looks increasingly ever more likely.