Thursday, July 7, 2022

Looming power vaccum at BDF causes the Presidency to consider all options

President Ian khama is said to be weighing all his options, including recalling Major General Pius Mokgware into the army to help bring stability in the top ranks of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).

The current commander, Lt. General Carter Masire, is due for retirement in a few months.
President Khama, who is the Commander in Chief, is said to be worried by looming prospects of a power vaccum at the army.

Morale in the army, especially in camps outside Gaborone, is also said to be at its lowest.
The President is said to have confided in some of his closest allies that he regrets sacking Mokgware last year.

Troubles at the top echelons of the BDF took a turn for the worse after Masire’s effective second in command Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo was slapped with criminal charges related to carelss driving.

Tiroyamodimo was tipped to become the commander upon Masire’s retirement.

Masire could have retired two years ago but had his contract extended by the President as there was no easy shoo-in at the time.

The Telegraph can confirm that Khama’s views on Mokgware, who he sacked last year, have since softened after the President realised that he had been misled into sacking Mokgware.

It is understood that the President now believes he sacked Mokgware based on wrong advice.

The Telegraph has in its posession names of four top officials that were instrumental in getting President Khama to sack Mokgware. One of them is a permanent secretary, the other a senior army officer, a senior intelligence officer and the last a member of cabinet.

Among other things, Mokgware, who was immensely popular with the soldiers, especially the ground forces, was accused of a difficult relationship with the Commander.

Meanwhile, General Tiroyamodimo has taken leave of absence pending the completion of his criminal trial.

In a recent interview, Tiroyamodimo, who is the second most senior army officer after Masire has ruled out resigning on account of the crimnial charges levelled against him.

“What is before the courts are allegations against me.There is no statute that forces me to resign. One does not resign before the courts have decided otherwise. I have no intention to resign. I am employed by the BDF on a voluntary basis. If I were to resign from the Force,I would be doing so on my own without undue pressure from anyone since the BDF is not a conscription army.”

The other Generals who could be considered to take up the hot seat are Major Generals Tumedi Paledi and Gaolathe Galebotswe.

Paledi’s retirement is, however, not too far down the line while Galebotswe was only appointed Major General last year after the unceremoinious sacking of Mokgware.

In the meantime, morale in the army is said to be at its lowest, with even some officers questiong the army’s overall preparedness.

Things came to a head after the last annual military exercises, dubbed Matsubutsubu were perceived a general failure. They were the first exercises carried out without General Mokgware as the commander of groundforces.

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