Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Kgosi thwarts ‘cowardly’ Khama’s bid to fire him

Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services Director General, Isaac Kgosi, has blatantly refused President Ian Khama’s order that he should resign and dared the top man to fire him, Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.

It has come to light that Collins Newman & Co Senior Partner and Khama’s legal advisor Parks Tafa was dispatched to deliver the Hobson’s choice to Kgosi ÔÇô resign or face the humiliation of being sacked.

When Tafa advised Kgosi to resign or face the sack, Kgosi is said to have yelled profanities, essentially telling both Tafa and Khama “to go to hell”.

Sunday Standard has turned up information that following a series of damaging corruption allegations against Kgosi, that threatened the credibility of Khama’s government, a team of ruling party heavyweights nudged him to dismiss the head of intelligence services.

This team told Khama that if he did not fire Kgosi his legacy would be irreparably tarnished and that the ruling party was headed for a thrashing at the hands of the opposition.

As it turned out, the concerns by this group, led by Tafa, one of Khama’s foremost advisors proved not only prescient but also prophetic.  In the tense exchanges between the President and his worried advisors, Khama told them that he was ill at ease to cut Kgosi loose. He told them that Kgosi was to him much more than an intelligence officer.

The encounter depicted a much more complex relationship in which Khama holds Kgosi not only in affection and admiration but also in fear and awe.

“The President essentially said Kgosi was to him much more than a friend or a brother. It was clear that his worry was that many people failed to understand his relationship with Kgosi,” said somebody who was intimately involved with events at the time, but who cannot be quoted on record because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“The President, like all of us was worried about where events were headed. But it was also clear that he could not imagine a life without Kgosi.”

But after a lot of back and forth nudging, the President accepted that the allegations against Kgosi, including an elaborate investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), were making the country ungovernable.

The DCEC had even sent its docket to the Director of Public Prosecutions. There were rumours flying around that DCEC was about to formally make a request to the President to suspend Kgosi from his duties so that he could not tamper with investigations.

After a lot of soul searching and further rounds of convincing from Tafa and others, Khama relented and agreed that the only way out was to fire Kgosi.

At Khama’s instance a plan was hatched to save Kgosi’s face by offering him a way out by way of resignation.

Tafa was dispatched to deliver the grave news to Kgosi.

When Kgosi refused Tafa is said to have told him “then you will be sacked,” as they parted ways.

Tafa reported back to Khama who in turn instructed him to prepare and draft legal instruments for the President’s attention to be used to sack the Director of Intelligence Services.

After a few days just as Khama was expected to pull the trigger, he convened his inner circle and delivered a bombshell. “He effectively told us that he has decided not to sack Kgosi. We were dumbfounded.” Said a source

This soured the relationship that Khama had built not only with his advisors like Tafa who had worked hard believing they had the backing of the President, but also with some in his family, chiefly Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Wildlife and Tourism, who believed that Kgosi was a ringleader of people who had derailed his elder brother.

“There is a public narrative that Khama is a strong and decisive leader. The opposite is true. And at least based on how he handled the Kgosi matter, possibly a coward,” said another senior government official.

Kgosi is part of a small circle of no more than three or four individuals who know Khama’s strengths and weaknesses.

These people form a small cabal that has used their knowledge and proximity to the President to push their personal agenda in government by playing on his fears, on his insecurities as well as on his inferiority complex, said a Cabinet minister.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.