Sunday, September 27, 2020

Khama and Kgosi: when water becomes thicker than blood

A lot has been said and written about the relationship between President Ian Khama and the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) boss, Isaac Kgosi. Although Kgosi once said Khama is not his friend but only his boss, their merest closeness is truly remarkable for it comes second to none that I know of. The two gentlemen are more connected than those famous Siamese twins, Mpho and Mphonyane because at some point the surgeons managed to separate the twins, while Khama and Kgosi have stood the test of time. Their relationship, whether personal or professional, seems to be a match made in heaven, even as it attracts fewer blessings here on earth.

I’m reminded of the two gentlemen’s relationship by incidents that transpired two weeks ago. Two weeks back, President Khama transferred the DIS and DCEC from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security to that of State President. The move shocked many people and surprised some. Justifiably, Khama must add ‘Surprise’ to his chain of names for he surprises like the act is getting out of fashion. What surprised many, though, was not really his decision to bring the DIS under a ministry housed at his office. The real shocker was, his move appeared to be some kind of demotion and a sign of no confidence on his blood cousin, Ndelu Seretse, who until two weeks back supervised both the DIS and DCEC. By removing the DIS and DCEC from Seretse’s ministerial portfolio, Khama stripped his cousin of powers that came with his overseeing the two undoubtedly most powerful institutions in the country.

Media reports suggest Khama’s decision to snatch the two institutions from Seretse’s hands was a result of an irretrievably broken down relationship between Khama’s cousin, Seretse and Khama’s confidant, Isaac Kgosi. It is reported that by so doing, Khama was coming to the rescue of Kgosi. In other words, Khama was saving Kgosi from Seretse. He was protecting his friend from his cousin. It is alleged the DCEC was investigating the DIS. Rumour has it Seretse was not ready to protect the DIS from the DCEC hence the fallout with Kgosi. Infact it is said that the DCEC, under Seretse, wanted Kgosi to be suspended pending the DCEC investigations. Even though Seretse was supposed to be Kgosi’s supervisor, both Kgosi and Seretse report directly to Khama and take orders from him. It is therefore probable that both men appraised Khama on what was going on between the DIS and the DCEC and sought his intervention.

Imagination is no offence, so let’s imagine this scenario: Seretse goes and tells Khama to suspend Kgosi. Just as Seretse leaves Khama’s office, Kgosi enters and Khama tells him what Seretse had just told him. On hearing that Seretse wants him suspended, Kgosi leans back on the chair, crosses his legs and tells Khama to choose between him and Seretse. Khama is then forced to weigh options and choose who between the two is worth siding with. You see, Seretse, as Khama’s cousin, is important only in Khama’s life but Kgosi, as Khama’s confidant, is very important to Khama’s life. In such a situation, Khama must have had no choice but to choose the person who matters the most ‘to his life’ as compared to that one who only matters ‘in his life.’ I bet many of us would do the same in such a situation because our survival depends on the people who matter the most to our lives than those in our lives. Surely Khama can do without Seretse but would find life unbearable without Kgosi.

Let’s face reality. We confide our deepest secrets, thoughts and emotions in our friends and not our cousins. It is only our trusted friends that we share with our mischief and misdeeds. Only our trusted friends and private secretaries have the key to our confidential information. Only our close friends and confidants know who we sleep with and who we have crushes on. Only our trusted friends and confidants know what we stole and even who we have killed. Now bear in mind Kgosi was at some point Khama’s private secretary and speculation is rife they are bosom buddies. Apparently so close are they that any attempt to create perforations between them would leave a messy ground.

This therefore means Kgosi knows Khama’s personal life and it is not easy to stick out the middle finger at someone who knows you to such extremes. It is for such reason Khama would rather please Kgosi to the frustration of his cousin, Seretse. I even doubt Seretse was shocked at his demotion. He knew very well that Khama would stand by Kgosi just as Kgosi would kill for Khama. Again, I understand Seretse was once demoted while he was still a soldier at BDF and Khama was his boss, just as is the case now. On the other hand, Kgosi climbed up the BDF hierarchy starting at the rank of private to where he currently sits, all thanks to Khama.

So like I said, Kgosi is more important and much closer to Khama when compared to Seretse whom I suspect the only time he shares personal space with Khama is when they attend family weddings and funerals in Serowe. On the other hand, Kgosi’s job entails taking care of Khama’s personal and political security thus giving Kgosi unlimited access to Khama. The world over, private secretaries develop private relationships with their bosses. There is that role of a private secretary which is never explicitly drawn in the job description. Its either the secretary becomes a ‘Monica Lewinsky’ or facilitates the affairs of the boss and some ‘Monica Lewinsky’ somewhere. Here I’m trying to buttress my assertion that private secretaries, by the nature of their job, know all the secrets, underhand tactics and mischief played out by their bosses and that is why it is dangerous to anger someone who knows a lot of things about you. This is why I want to believe those who observe that Khama cannot afford to upset Kgosi because the guy knows a lot about him and a fallout between them would open a can of worms or even snakes in their case.

[email protected]


Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.