Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Diplomatic community jittery over Botswana’s EVMs

Following a series of secret meetings with G8 country diplomats in Botswana, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will this week notify the Attorney General of its plan to challenge the amendment of the Electoral Act in court.

UDC President Duma Boko has instructed Attorney Dick Bayford to lodge a case against the amendment which seeks to introduce electronic voting machines during the 2019 general elections. The UDC took the decision following meetings between Boko and G8 country diplomats based in Gaborone (known to this publication) who are jittery that government may rig the elections.

Intelligence sources last week tipped off Sunday Standard about Boko’s meeting with at least two G8 country diplomatic in Gaborone. The diplomats community is understood to be worried that government may rig the elections, which may lead to ‘possible political instability in the country’.

Boko confirmed the meetings on condition that the Sunday Standard did not disclose the identity of the diplomats he had met to discuss the possibility that government may hack the electronic voting machines.

Bayford also confirmed that he would be issuing a statutory notice of his intention to challenge the amendment of the Electoral act in Court. This comes after Sunday Standard revealed last week that  the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) has recruited a top-flight information security specialist Dr Trust Tshepo Mapoka as part of a black-operation to hack into electronic voting machines during the 2019 general elections.

It is understood that Mapoka, who has been engaged on the need-to-know basis may not be privy to the details of the whole black operation. He, however, has been tagged as a person of interest in the regional intelligence community and has become a target of their surveillance programmes.

Responding to the Sunday Standard story, the DISS last week issued a general rebuttal, but would neither deny nor confirm that they have recruited Mapoka or that they have been in talks with Israeli spy tech companies Verint Systems and Cellebrite.

A press release from the Office of the President stated that: “The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) notes with concern the publication of false and misleading allegations by the Sunday Standard newspaper of August 21, 2016 in a story headlined “Mapoka the red herring swims into DISS fraud pool”. It is falsely alleged in the story that the Directorate has “a black operation to hack into electronic voting machines during the 2019 general elections.

The Directorate feels compelled to dismiss this story as false and grossly malicious. This story clearly shows how far the Sunday Standard and its handlers are prepared to go to deceive and incite the public to create chaos and instability in the country. The Sunday Standard’s obsession with circulating false information about the Directorate of Intelligence and Security is no surprise as it has been exposed as a front for certain foreign interests whose agenda maybe to see instability and insecurity in Botswana.

 The public should rest assured that the DISS is manned by professional staff who discharge their duties professionally and impartially within the provisions of the Intelligence and Security Service Act 2007. The mandate of the Directorate is to counter threats to national security and interests as defined under Section 2 of the Intelligence and Security Service Act 2007 and not to create instability.

The DISS would thus not embark on any ‘black operation to hack into any electronic voting machines’ as alleged by the Sunday Standard and its imaginary Intelligence sources.”

 DISS Director General, Isaac Kgosi is among a number of senior civil servants and Cabinet ministers who are likely to be prosecuted for corruption in the event of a change in government. Kgosi’s investigation docket together with a half a dozen others are under lock and key at the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and will not be sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for prosecution.

 Kgosi’s docket was referred by the DPP back to the DCEC last year with recommendations to beef it up by interviewing former Debswana Chief of Security who is now based in Cape Town. The DCEC has however ignored the recommendation by DPP and is sitting on the docket.

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