Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Kentse, Kablay differ on Dow’s DIS outburst

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has ruled out any disciplinary action against specially elected Member of Parliament Dr Unity Dow for her rants about the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS).

Dow came out guns blazing during her response to the President’s State of the nation address indicating that the intelligence unit has been allowed to operate outside the law.

BDP Spokesperson Kagelelo Kentse said it was within Dow’s right as legislator to relay her views concerning the institution, adding that she did not attack the leadership of the country.

Kentse said since 2008 when the DIS was established, Batswana have been consistently complaining about the institution.

“In 2008 DIS was feared and described as a rogue unit, so Unity Dow was speaking about DIS from its period of establishment,” he said.

“She is a Motswana, a Member of Parliament. She has expressed her views. We will definitely be seeing how that will evolve, but I can definitely tell you that she has not attacked the leadership of the country. She was only demanding accountability,” added Kentse.

He further said BDP will not pretend that they are proud of the DIS, adding that the spy agency does not serve the interests of the party.

“DIS serves Botswana and Batswana, so at BDP we are only focused on running the country. The DIS is a unit under a government we run and Batswana must give feedback about the DIS,” said Kentse.

Kentse however rubbished claims that the BDP uses the DIS to intimidate political opponents, adding that there are three institutions in the country which operate independently, stating the DIS, DCEC and DPP, adding that the three have been empowered by the laws of the country to carry out certain exercises in the protection of the republic.

When asked about the three institutions still being under the Office of the President, Kentse said Masisi has promised a constitutional review in order to deal with the issue.

For his part, Parliament Chief Whip Liakat Kablay said although he cannot criticize Dow for coming out guns blazing at DIS, the MP should have first discussed the issue at party caucus.

“She relayed her view on DIS. I doubt what she said will have any influence on how other party MP’s will speak out. It’s her view which I think she should have shared at party caucus before going to Parliament,”

“What I know is that the party has protocols and procedures which one must follow. Whoever has a grievance there is a caucus to discuss the issues. That is the procedure I know since I got into Parliament in 2009,” said Kablay.

He said there are two caucus being the backbench caucus and the main caucus but the MP failed to express herself in either of the two.

Kablay further stated that although Dow enjoys the liberties and freedoms gifted to her by the country’s rule of law, there is a party constitution that needs to be followed.

“I am not sure whether or not she will be summoned by the party leadership because many party members are calling and asking why the issue could not be discussed first at party caucus before Parliament,” said Kablay.

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