The President and Commander-in-Chief, Ian Khama, has appointed Major General Gaolathe Galebotswe as the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Commander.
The Director, Protocol and Public Relations, Colonel Paul Sharp, told Sunday Standard that the appointment will be with effect from 1st August 2012. He said the decision to replace Commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire lies with the Commander-in Chief Khama.
Galebotswe is currently Deputy Commander, the position to which he was appointed in May this year. Prior to that, Galebotswe was the Ground Force Commander.
Khama made the announcement on Thursday during the BDF commissioning parade for officer Cadets Class 35 of 2012. Amongst the 63 commissioning officers, three were from Lesotho Defence Force, another three from Namibia Defence Force and two from Mozambique Defence Force. Also in that graduating group, were 27 Batswana lady officers.
Galebotswe has been the immediate assistant to Masire and he stood a bigger chance to fit in the BDF top post after the departure of Masire on July 31 this year. Masire is the only BDF commander who had his contract extended in the history of BDF. Masire could have retired three years ago but had his contract extended by Khama.
Recently, Khama announced the appointment of Brigadier Gotsileene Morake to the post of Commander, Ground Forces Command and promoted him to the rank of Major General. Furthermore, Galebotswe was also appointed the Deputy Commander BDF, while Brigadier George Tlhalerwa is appointed Commander, Defence Logistics Command.
Khama handed over to Fisher when he retired in 1998 to join politics. Masire’s contract was extended just after his former deputy, Major General Pius Mokgware, was retired last year under curious circumstances.
Masire took over from Lieutenant General Matshwenyego Fisher in 2006. He would have retired in 2010, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 55.