Monday, January 17, 2022

Boko getting elite executive protection

While the Botswana National Front spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa, is understandably cagey with details, it was apparent from a rally that launched Duma Boko as a parliamentary candidate for Bonnington North that the party has stepped up security measures around its leader.

“We are obviously concerned about the safety of our leaders and have taken measures to ensure that they are safe. We are keeping our eyes open but I cannot share any details,” Mohwasa said. He may not have to because some are in plain sight. At the Saturday rally, there was visible close protection around the leadership. From where he got out of his car, Boko walked the length of an extremely long red carpet enclosed within panels of tightly secured difficulty fencing, all the way up to the stage which was also secured in similar manner.

At one point, the UDC president, his deputy, Ndaba Gaolathe, and other members of the platform party left the stage and walked a short distance to deposit donations in a large container. At least two tied-and-suited men (there could have been more) provided close protection to and fro, as a gaggle of press and non-press photographers followed close by snapping pictures. It is unclear who these men are, where they are from and what experience they have. What is clear though is that they certainly know what they are doing. A couple of minutes later the donation run when Boko & Co. were back on stage, the emcee ordered photographers back because of a security breach he never specified.

Later he would reveal that someone had taken pictures and printed them, never explaining how that constituted a security breach. He would raise the same concern after nightfall when the crowd surged forward to get closer to onstage action where Astley Gops was playing. When Boko finally took to the podium, the close protection officers secured the inner and outer perimetres. Some UDC members are former members of the army and when a party has reason to believe that the lives of its leaders are in danger, common sense tells one that the ex-soldiers will make any input. However, Mohwasa is still giving nothing away.

“Each and every member of the party makes an input to ensure the safety of the leadership, particularly in light of the recent incidents,” says Mohwasa, who on being prompted confirmed that Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death was one such incident. “There have also been other incidents ÔÇô like house burglary at the president’s house.” The major constraint that Boko bodyguards will have to contend with is that they cannot carry guns because they are operating outside the ambit of the government’s VIP protection system.

They will also have to comply with speed restrictions and road blocks. However, close protection is much broader than packing a gun and showing it off as some bodyguards do. As executive protection professionals, the men around Boko will, among other things, have specialised training in defensive and offensive driving, route reconnaissance, first aid as well as threat and risk assessment.

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