Sunday, June 16, 2024

DIS lashes at media distortions


As an organ of Government existing within a democratic framework , whose operations are, moreover, strictly regulated and held accountable by an Act of Parliament, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) accepts, indeed welcomes, the fact that our activities are not above criticism. We are, however, concerned that certain misguided elements within our community seem to have made it a habit to slander our organisation with a constant stream of unsubstantiated allegations and innuendos. In this respect, the DIS has been repeatedly and falsely accused of such heinous activities as extra judicial killings, torture, and spying on political activists, e.g. most recently, carrying out surveillance on some Botswana Democratic Party members.

In the interest of accountability to the public we were established to serve, the DIS finds it appropriate to once more set the record straight. We are well and sadly aware of the “sources” of some of the innuendos and falsehoods that have been leveled against the Directorate. It is our perception that in many cases our accusers have been motivated by their own partisan or personal agendas. Such elements threaten to compromise the wider public stake in our activities for their own selfish interests.

We are especially disappointed that a section of the media has become the ever willing conduits of anonymous mischief-making through their readiness to routinely publish the unwarranted attacks of such individuals in the absence of even the most rudimentary efforts to establish their veracity or question their possible motives. To overcome this gap we have endeavoured to reach out to members of the media where we could with, unfortunately, heretofore, very little reciprocity.

As we have noted on prior occasions, in terms of section 5 of the Intelligence and Security Service Act, 2007, the Directorate was established for a purpose, which purpose the Directorate executes. From the mandate, the primary function of the Directorate is to detect and identify any threat or potential threat to National Security, advising the President and the Government of any threat or potential threat to National Security as well as taking steps to protect the security interest of the country. The operations of the Directorate are focused at achieving this mandate. Our fellow citizens may be reassured that the Directorate has never been involved in extra judicial killings. We have, moreover, never abducted nor tortured any person for whatever reason.

We have not and shall not unlawfully intercept any telephone transmissions. We also take this opportunity to once more remind the public that according to Subsection (2) of section 5 of our Act the Directorate is legally barred from allowing itself to be influenced by considerations not relevant to the discharge of its mandate. The section also provides that in carrying out its duties, the Directorate shall not perform acts that could give rise to any reasonable suspicion that the Directorate is concerned with furthering among other things, interests of any political party or other organization or part thereof. In this the Directorate has followed and maintained the full letter of the law. The Directorate, in performing its functions has always maintained a professional apolitical position.

Further to the above we take this opportunity to specifically dismiss with contempt an article in the (4/2/10) edition of the Mmegi Newspaper headlined “Khama using DIS to purge BDP operatives?” As public servants we resent being dragged into other people’s political point scoring. We further question the professional credibility of articles which themselves invariably begin with question marks, which clearly betray their authors and publishers own lack of certainty. We suspect that in the fullness of time, the general law-abiding citizens will come to share our weariness of unsubstantiated allegations emanating from anonymous misfits.

Some of these misfits are spreading these malicious and untrue statements to divert attention from their own undesirable activities. These individuals should realize that the course of justice cannot be sidetracked by such distractions. Finally the Directorate wishes to once more reiterate that we welcome and appreciate all forms of genuine criticism.

(Director General)
Republic of Botswana – Office of the President


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