Saturday, June 6, 2020

Khama’s recruitment of former soldiers and young orphaned boys raises eyebrows

Former President Ian Khama curious recruitment of retired soldiers and young orphaned boys from the SOS Children’s Village has security officials and child welfare officers anxious.

Botswana Police Service and Child Welfare officers are understood to be investigating the former president’s bizarre employment of young boys from the Tlokweng orphanage.

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) is also uneasy after discovering a drive by Khama to recruit retired Botswana Defence Force (BDF)  officers in what is reported to be part of a bigger plan to resuscitate his Republican Guard.

A republican guard, sometimes called a national guard, is a state organization of a country (often a republic) which typically serves to protect the head of state and the government, and thus is often synonymous with a presidential guard. The restoration of Khama’s presidential guard however has not been sanctioned by the state.

The issue is further complicated by last month’s arrest of two of his recruit by DIS officers in Palapye during a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) strategic retreat addressed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The duo Mike Maake a former BDF commando and one Kopong a former DIS agent were arrested after Masisi’s security detail was put on high alert following a threat assessment from the DIS which concluded that Masisi’s life and that of DIS Director General Peter Magosi were in danger.

The alert is said to have been triggered by technical surveillance product on a former high ranking government official with close links to Khama who allegedly sent SMS messages to his lawyer and gaffer, threatening to kill President Masisi and DIS, DG, Peter Magosi and commit suicide.

Maake who  joined BDF as Non-Commissioned Officer in 1980 (Force No. 0092214M) and posted to Force Training Establishment (FTE) where he served as an instructor is at the centre of the  high level investigation headed by former head of the Crime Investigating Bureau (CRIB) David Mosetse.

DIS Director General, Peter Magosi confirmed to the Sunday Standard that he had engaged Khama on his recruitment of former BDF officers.

“Khama complained that I had taken away his weapons and so he had decided to recruit competent ex army officers who would be able to offer protection to him and his security detail. I explained to him that I had not disarmed his security detail but had taken back President Masisi and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane’s security personnel’s official issue weapons which had been given to Khama’s security detail by the former Director General Isaac Kgosi under questionable circumstances. I then offered his six riffles, but this did not stop his recruitment campaign”, Magosi explained.

Child Welfare officers are also reported to be unsettled by Khama curious decision to recruit an undisclosed number of young boys from the SOS children’s village into his staff.”

Magosi confirmed the recruitment, but could not explain what they young boys are employed to do. The issue is reported to be under investigation.

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