A decision by President Ian Khama to relocate the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) together with the Directorate on Intelligence Services from the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security to the Ministry of State President is said to have rattled relations and operations of government.
For all the official rhetoric about the President exercising his prerogative and taking a deliberate decision to enhance efficiency, this week’s announcement is said to have unnerving undercurrents.
Investigations have revealed that the move by the President has everything to do with DCEC investigations on the Director General of DIS, Colonel Isaac Kgosi.
Another issue that has prompted President Khama’s actions is the soured relationship between Kgosi and Minister Seretse.
While the two are hardly speaking to each other, they are in different ways integral to President Khama’s core interests both in government business and in his private life.
Seretse is a close cousin to the President who is also often mulled as a possible successor, while Kgosi is arguably the President’s longest and most trusted confidante.
Minister Seretse is said to have written President Khama a letter complaining about the way he perceives the President to be listening to Isaac Kgosi above and more than everyone else.
In an interview, Minister Seretse would not want to be drawn into what he had said to the President over the matter.
“You honestly do not expect me to be telling you what I am discussing with the President in confidence,” said Minister Seretse.
He also declined to say if he would consider resigning over the matter if he felt undermined.
“Look, when I resigned the last time around it was because I wanted to clear my name and that of this Government,” he said. “There was never any pressure for me to resign. I resigned more to be at peace with myself.”
Minister Seretse said President Khama was well within his powers and mandate as it was his prerogative to create and establish ministries and departments.
“The power to appoint and create ministries rests with the President. He also defines the content. He is the person you should be asking about the changes,” said the composed but clearly distressed Seretse.
At least two people close to the minister said were it not of the special relationship he had with President Khama, Seretse would have resigned his cabinet positions.
“I know him as a composed and very principled man. But this week I saw another part of him. He seems to be very unhappy that the President is for some reason under the total influence of Kgosi. And he has been talking about it endlessly,” said a power broker who is close to Khama, Kgosi and Seretse.
Sunday Standard Investigations have further revealed that other than that Kgosi’s hand has been strengthened by DIS relocation, he also has been emboldened by President Khama’s firm and steadfast refusal to suspend him.
For the last three weeks since it emerged that DCEC was investigating the DIS Director General, President Khama has come under sorts of pressure to suspend Kgosi.
The President has said he would only act if he is furnished with substantive information incriminating his long time friend and spy boss.
Among other things, DCEC is investigating how Kgosi acquired some of the properties to his name, including a double storied mansion in Phakalane, a small holding in the Sentlhane farms along the Gaborone dam and another small holding in the Kweneng sub-district.
Insinuations have been made that the intelligence cash accounts could have been misused. Also at stake is the multi-million Pula contract that will see the security and access to all government departments and ministries linked and centralized.
But so far nothing has stuck, with Directorate of Public Prosecutions rumoured to have registered dissatisfaction with evidence so far collected against Kgosi.