Tuesday, May 18, 2021

BDF intelligence briefs depict an army in crisis state

Confidential Botswana Defence Force (BDF) intelligence records have revealed that the army command was warned that the promotion of Major General Galebotswe to Commander of the armed forces could destabilise the army.

An intelligence report dated 10/07/2012, under the subject “appointment of BDF commander and source
classification “reliable” warned that there would be more “resignations and retirements” if Galebotswe were promoted to BDF Commander. Slightly less than three years after the BDF command ignored the warning by the military intelligence and appointed Galebotswe to BDF Commander, the army for the first time this year will be recruiting about 1000 new members to try and stabilise the army following unprecedented resignations and early retirements.

A source close to the BDF recruitment told Sunday Standard that this was the first time in the history of the army that they have had so many vacancies. In the past the BDF recruited between 200 and 300 new members.

Indications are that satisfaction with life in the services has fallen, along with levels of pride and feelings of being valued.┬á Another Intelligence report dated 27\05\2012, source also classified as “reliable” reveals that the army command was also warned against promoting Major General Galebotswe to Deputy Commander, stating “information received is that soldiers are not happy with the appointment of Maj General Galebotswe as Deputy Commander.┬á It is said that soldiers are going to leave the army in big numbers as they perceive General Galebotswe as an oppressor.”

Sources say the intelligence briefs against Galebotswe’s promotion are believed to have stoked the animosity between the BDF Commander and Brigadier Peter Magosi who was head of intelligence at the time.

As soon as he was appointed commander, Maj gen Galebotswe immediately removed Magosi from the Military intelligence, replacing him with Colonel Cullen Nkete in a very stormy transition.

The poisoned relationship between Lt Gen Gaolathe and Brig Magosi turned even more waspish after Brig Magosi refused to hand over some intelligence officers to his successor Col Nkete. Sunday Standard has also unearthed documents detailing how during a meeting   of the BDF command  in July 2013  Brig Magosi was grilled on why he had not handed over one of the MI agents to his successor, but Brig Magosi maintained that he could not do so because the new command was compromising MI agents.

In intelligence speak, compromising intelligence agents means breaking their cover and exposing them to being discovered by the agents. Brig Magosi allegedly charged that Lt Gen Gaolathe had allowed Col Nkete to compromise the security of MI agents initially deployed by Brig Magosi to infiltrate criminal syndicates.

He allegedly cited the incident of one MI operative who had managed to infiltrate drug syndicates only to have his security breached by the new MI command. The sensitive issue, which was discussed at the first formal meeting of the BDF command in July 2013 where the missing spy equipment was brought up.  The inquiry over the missing spy equipment marked the highest watermark in the fight between Magosi and Galebotswe.  The BDF command climbed down over their plan to conduct the inquiry after Magosi took the army to court.

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