The Botswana Defence Force succession plan plunged further into crisis this week following unconfirmed reports that the Deputy Commander, Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo, has parted ways with the army.
Tiroyamodimo has been on suspension since January 2011, pending finalization of his criminal case before Village Magistrates’ court, and is the second BDF deputy commander to leave the army in less than three years, following the sacking of Major General Pius Mokgware in late 2009.
The BDF Public Relations and Protocol Officer, Thuso Sharp, would not confirm the reports saying he has been away from office for the past two years. Sharp referred all queries to Tiroyamodimo who would not take our calls.
Tiroyamodimo’s suspension was issued on 5 January last year and that his position has remained vacant. Although he has been on suspension for 14 months, he continued earning his salary, staying in his official residence and enjoying other benefits that come with his position.
The interdiction however placed him on half salary. The deputy army boss is facing three criminal charges ranging from drunken driving, failure to provide breath specimen for testing, and giving false information to a person employed in the public service. Accompanying the senior soldier in the dock is attorney Temperance Ketshabile of Motlhala, Ketshabile, Rabashwa Attorneys.
The charge sheet says that Tiroyamodimo was under the influence of alcohol when driving a Toyota Land Cruiser that collided with another vehicle near Sir Seretse Khama Barracks at Mogoditshane in July 2010. He allegedly failed to provide breath specimen. It is further alleged that Ketshabile later claimed that he was the driver of the Land Cruiser, when, in fact he was not. The duo made their first court appearance on December 23rd and trial dates have been set for 17, 18 and 28 March. Tiroyamodimo was promoted to the second top army position in 2009 a gesture that stirred controversy at the army barracks.