Thursday, August 6, 2020

DIS has to open up

In so far as it does not compromise the sensitive nature of its operations, the Directorate of Intelligence Services should try its best to open up to the general public.
Given the negative image that it carriers, opening up so that people get to know what it really stands for can only be in best interest of DIS.

As of now many people have come to equate DIS with a one-eyed monster.
It is now commonplace to hear people talk of DIS as an organization that kills people.
In the past the Director General has tried to address this image but with little success.
He should not be discouraged.

There is no other alternative to public education about the role his organization plays.
The trouble so far has been that except for a periodical rebuttal by the Director General, the public never got to receive a first account of what this multi-million Pula institution really stands for.

In that vein, it was more than reassuring to see the Director General recently field questions from BTV where he attempted, within the constraints of his mandate to tell the public what his organization is all about.

Burying their heads in the sand and pretending that the negative public perceptions about them do not matter cannot be a good strategy.

There are many people who in principle support the existence of such an organization like DIS, but who in practice are repelled by the way the organization has been allowed to mutate into a Frankstein like beast and therefore do not want to be seen to be defending it in public.
Such people can only come out and publicly defend DIS if they see measures being put in place by the organization to shed and rid itself the image which undermines its very existence.
If truth be told, were Batswana including those from the ruling party asked if DIS should be dismantled, a good majority would reply in the affirmative.

This is because they have never really understood what DIS stands for.
Nobody has bothered to explain to them why the nation needs DIS.

Instead people see the organization that has been created to eavesdrop on private conversations.
Many people see DIS as a creation of President Ian Khama and his friend Isaac Kgosi.
This cannot be good for an organization that is supposed to outlive anyone individual, an institution that has been established by law, an institution that by its character is supposed to protect the very people who despise it so passionately.

A failure by DIS to teach the public about its mandate has had deep running ramifications. We hope DIS leadership understands this.

The negative public perception against the organization has become so pervasive that undoing it will not be easy.

Aware of the extent to which people fear DIS, all sorts of criminals and other imposters are now going around the country telling people that they are members of the DIS.
In that respect we welcome latest efforts by the Director General to open up and tell the public what his organization truly stands for.

As we say above, where it does not compromise his mandate and his operations as well as the identity of his operatives, the Director General should go all out to tell the nation the successes of his organization, including where they saved both life and property.

There is no other alternative ÔÇô otherwise people will continue just why it is that DIS continues to take such a large share of public finances.

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Sunday Standard August 2 – 8

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 2 - 8, 2020.