Arms of war found hidden in Kgatleng

26 Aug 2019

By Richard Moleofe

The above is what was published on the front page of the Sunday Standard newspaper in February 2017. This raised a lot of questions and concern in reading the way the article had been written and articulated. It is now time to reflect on this article since it has been more than two years since this issue came about.

The Greeks are well known for their strings of philosophers. Philosophy is simply the art of thinking. This is one art that should be drilled into the minds of our contemporary generation of reporters.

Taking into account the political situation of our country, I urge all those reporting on issues of any security nature to be extremely cautious because they might just be sleepwalking the country into an unnecessary conflict.

The reason why I am bringing up this line of thought is because the report on the story has not been followed up in the two and half years since it first came to light and it is time to ponder on this matter when taking into account the current incendiary atmosphere for our country. Not everything intelligence is the truth as the reporter associated the origins of this information to intelligence leaks.

From my informed perspective as someone who is combat trained and with a wealth of intelligence understanding, there were two possible scenarios regarding the origins of the weapons if ever they existed.

In the first place, it is highly possible that the arms cache was planted by security agents. The timing was just right for the government to justify their endless military spending. This came a few days before the Minister of Finance and Development Planning could unveil the national budget then in February 2017. The budget showed the largest security spending that this country had ever seen.

In a country where there is a growing number of disgruntled jobless youths with university degrees , it became even harder to bring in any reasonable justification for any procurement of fighter jets that would certainly not add any value to the country in as far as job creation is concerned.

In the past the Minister of Justice, Defence and Security Mr. Shaw Kgathi was in great pains trying to justify the plans for huge spending in the current National Development Plan number eleven (NDP11). Therefore the government would need to bring in every fibre of justification into this public debate. The question that experts in the area of finance and economics have been asking as well as opposition MPs is why the government has its priorities in the reverse order. The government preferred to purchase weapons of war instead of embarking on job creation with the same money.

And who would want to take on a well-resourced security system such as that of this country? There is reason to revisit this matter and interrogate it at a much closer position than we did in 2017.

Fast forward to 2019, we could now develop totally new conspiracy theories around this issue. Fermenting an insurrection would be the best thing in their minds of Khama and Kgosi in an election year where a lot is at stake here. There are no certainties in winning the elections with the main opposition UDC. And should the BDP win this election as it looks poised to, surely someone is going to jail after the October general elections.

For two and half years now the nation has had no update on the matter and most of us had hoped that by now the Directorate of Public Prosecutions would have concluded drafting charges against someone of a group of people. So in 2017 I had brought forth the idea that the opposition was being intimidated with the case in point.

The next possible scenario regarding the origins of these weapons could be the ANC of South Africa. During their liberation war of independence, the armed wing of the ANC used this country as a staging ground for attacks into South Africa. This was against Botswana’s policy that the country did not want to be used as a springboard. Regardless of this policy, the ANC managed to bring in weapons here and particularly in the south eastern part of Botswana which provides several opportunities of crossing into South Africa.

To buttress this ANC theory, we may remember that in the early 1990s there was a huge discovery of an arms cache in Otse. This occurred when bush clearing commenced at the site of Botswana Police College. This was a trove of assorted weapons of war.

I believe there are still many more arms caches left over after the liberation war of both Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is only that there’s no sufficient human activity in our border area with Zimbabwe to unearth the leftovers from the past war.

To bring the matter closer to home, in the past years as a Gaborone family attempted to renovate their house in Bontleng, an arms cache came tumbling down from their ceiling. After South Africa’s independence in 1994, the ANC no longer had any appetite to follow up on their previous arms caches. It seems they were no longer necessary.

The authenticity of the arms cache is highly questionable when taking into account the behaviour and utterances of Isaac Kgosi during the time of his arrest, before and beyond.

However, from the list we get from the cache we come to realise that it is representative of what would have been stashed by an ANC operational cell. From the past arrests made by BDF before 1994, similar weapons made up the list of those carried by ANC operative cells.

The Late Linchwe Kgafela who was the Paramount Chief of Bakgatla was often associated with ANC activities. In the past he made claims that he kept ANC armouries within his district. Most probably this is one of the remaining ones.

Why did authorities then rush to conclusions of an insurgency possibility? This is something that should get every right thinking citizen worried. Where are the arms and what is happening to the case right now?