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21 Jan 2019

By Richard Moleofe

We all welcome the arrest of Isaac Kgosi which by all accounts was long overdue. This is no ordinary mortal, he is the former boss of the national intelligence organ in this country.

I looked at a litany of charges that have been preferred against him and I think the man will have very little room for maneuverer. Anyway, that is ground for the legal experts and allow me to walk a little further away from such territory.

Kgosi arrives at the airport named after the late father of his bosom friend and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose as he is presented with a warrant of arrest signed by a senior magistrate. Kgosi’s bewilderment said it all. It shows that his few remaining loyal zealots at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security did not catch the wind. From his body language he was totally in the dark.

As far as I am concerned, it was sufficient to stop Kgosi at a nearby created roadblock and bundle him out of his car off to Mogoditshane at the army barracks. He is a man wanted by the law and not a fugitive and therefore his arrest should not have been made so dramatic.

It was made to look like a Hollywood block buster with the presence of the media. The pictures coming out of that scene are very professional. The presence of the media as the fourth estate is always welcome but should not be used for point scoring for the wrong things.

This was a movie directed from the ruling party headquarters. President Mokgweetsi Masisi has reached a point where he has to flex his muscles and show that he is in the driving seat. He is setting a tone for the things to come and is sending a clear and strong message to all in the party that he is ready to wrestle with anyone – including and starting with the former chief of intelligence.

The president possesses so much power and yet he has been so reluctant to put it into use,especially in the public domain. President Masisi should be getting a lot of challenge from the opposition (politically speaking), but instead he is getting the challenge in tonnes and tonnes from colleagues in his own party.

Top on the list of the Guinea pigs of this political chess game has been one Tshephang Mabaila. This didn’t show to dent Ian Khama so much. Now with the arrest of Kgosi, Khama has been forced to say something or at the least do something. Kgosi is the apple of Khama’s eye and a long time bosom friend from way back before there was anything called BDF. The Kgosi arrest was just a demonstration of the power that the president has in his hands. This action is meant to silence Khama. For some observers, the capture of the Khama Queen in this game of chess is the crushing blow by Masisi.

That’s not the Khama I know from BDF. He will make sure he retaliates for the actions of the arrest of his bosom friend. But Khama might find himself isolated as many will not want to risk it all. Remember that Shaw Kgati once said most BDP candidates have criminal records. It is this card that Masisi will be wearing up  his sleeve. The crazy eight card.

Remember that criminality and corruption have been responsible for holding this party together. So far it doesn’t look like there is anyone prepared to take a chance on the president because of fear of prosecution even if they feel that the actions of the president are mean-spirited. 

So Kgosi was arrested and released within twenty-four hours. That is interesting and weird at the same time looking at the severity of his criminal charges. His release has been granted on the grounds that he is cooperating. Why was Sonny Serite kept much longer in the holding sells when he did not even threaten those who arrested him like Kgosi did? Like I said, I would not want to delve into legal issues because that’s not my territory. But one thing I know is that warrants of arrest are flagged up by magistrates and flagged down by the same or a judge of the higher Court.

So therefore the arrest of Isaac Kgosi was purely a public relations exercise and his sudden release has watered down the whole thing. Members of the public wanted Kgosi in the cells for at least three nights before appearing before a magistrate at a packed courtroom somewhere in town.

Some reason for releasing him from the Military Police custody is said to be for the purpose of being present while searches are conducted at his different houses. Why is government so much in a hurry to search Kgosi’s properties? That kind of exercise was necessary at the time when he was fired from office. At the time they only searched his Phakalane resident for weapons  and not for any other thing including tonnes of United States Dollars in cash.

The number of security officers involved in the arrest of this man leaves a lot to be desired. What was the reason for showing up with a platoon of plain clothes officers to arrest an unarmed man only to release him the next morning? For all these questions, the answer lies at the heart of the ruling BDP Headquarters. The leadership is trying to get things into the right perspective.

But the nation is looking forward to the successful prosecution of Kgosi which will ultimately lead to a conviction. All of his seventeen charges are very serious and in any normal country, the man would be preparing for a long life in prison. But one thing is certain about the Kgosi affair, Ian Khama will not watch it lying down.

*Richard Moleofe is a security analyst

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