Wednesday, September 23, 2020

DWNP was disarmed over coup allegations – Khama

Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama says the Anti-Poaching Unit was disarmed because of fears of a coup plot against President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Speaking to the Sunday Standard Friday July 31st 2020 Khama said the decision to take away firearms from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)anti-poaching unit was based on unfounded fears of a possible coup.

“I have no proof but I was reliably informed it was to do with me and the irresponsible and childish allegations of a coup plot,” Khama said.

At the time of the disarmament the DWNP was under Khama’s brother Tshekedi Khama (TK) who was Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism.

The decision by President Mokgweetsi Masisi following a fall out with his predecessor was seen by any as a move to emasculate the Khama brothers.

TK himself expressed concern over the move which he said was a gift to the poachers.

Issues over Masisi’s security intensified in 2019 in the lead up to the General Elections. At one point the President’s official jet OK1 made a U-turn mid-air enroute to Mozambique over what the Director of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Brigadier Peter Magosi said was a plot to assassinate President Masisi.

No arrests have been made over the allegations, fuelling speculations of possible paranoia by the President’s security personnel.

Last month (July) Magosi told the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) that he still feared for the President’s life.

“I won’t commit to a time frame as to when we expect to have made arrests over the threats to the President’s life,” Magosi said.

He would also not reveal who posed the threat to Masisi’s life. “When the time comes, we will make arrests.” 

Asked why he would not delegate his juniors to take over Presidential ‘bodyguard’ roles Magosi insisted his men were still not qualified to be on the frontline of Masisi’s defence.

“I will only stop personally protecting the President once I am satisfied that my men have been trained to carry out the job adequately,” Magosi told the PAC.

Parliament last week debated a motion on the re-armament of the Anti-Poaching Unit. Khama told Sunday Standard of his support for the motion saying poaching increased significantly following the decision to disarm the Unit. While the debate on the matter continues this week with most MPs yet to share their opinions, all indications are that the motion will be defeated.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.