Thursday, September 24, 2020

Magosi wants to reform the notorious DIS

Peter Magosi is working on reforming the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) to make it more accountable to Parliament than the president.

The DIS is currently reviewing the possibility of restructuring its oversight body so that it is appointed, monitored by and directly answerable to the National Assembly. Director General (DG) of the DISS, Brigadier Peter Magosi, has said in an interview with the Sunday Standard that, the review covers even those aspects relating to the conduct of the DISS and other matters that people are not happy with.

Although Magosi was cagey about the specific aspects that people are not happy with, and  that he would not  in any way want to be construed to unnecessarily understate the contributions or role of his predecessors regarding the Act review, he posits that a very drastic relook of the instruments governing his organization is ongoing to render it accountable.

“One of the recommendations contemplated is to ensure that the oversight committee is appointed by Parliament rather than by His Excellency the President, so that in the ultimate analysis the security of the nation should not be susceptible to the risk of emotions, personality or character of the person assuming high office at any point in time,” substantiated the Spy Chief.

The idea , says Magosi, is that while it may be early or perhaps even seemingly uncalled for to fancy renaming the Intelligence body, there must in every way possible be a demonstration of commitment, in practice as in law to open a new chapter in the conduct and image or public perception of the DISS.

“To enhance any deliberate efforts in that direction, there is need for an oversight authority that is effective, adheres to ethics and professionalism capable of enhancing effectiveness and accountability on the part of the Intelligence, and other security machinery as well, for a genuinely state of law and order.”

 The interview followed a parliamentary discussion on the mandate and effectiveness of the DISS Tribunal after, the Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe, Dithapelo Keorapetse asked how many cases or complaints it handled ever since its inception in  2008. Keorapetse also wanted to know how much money it had been allocated for its mandate since then.

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi responded that the Tribunal had never been given any money ever since it was founded.and that it handled only three cases of which none was conclusively resolved.

his was despite the fact that since the DISS formation there has been an national outcry of fear, extra judicial killings mysterious disappearances and looting of national treasuries. Reports by international rating organizations of declining state of democratic credentials, public safety and civil liberties only compounded concerns as to the real motive behind the formation of the institution.

Utterances by the  former DG of the service just a few months before he was shown the exit that he was not accountable to anyone including the President, only gave more fodder to these concerns.

Major General Pius Mokgware, a for Commander of the Ground Forces in the Botswana Defense Force(BDF), and now a Member of Parliament for Mmankgodi/Gabane Constituency, has said that the DISS in its current  form suffers a serious credibility deficit which impacts on public confidence.

It is against that background that Magosi argues that over and above the ongoing review, he has been touring and addressing a number of District Councils and he continues to do so, with the express aim of reassuring leaders of the local governments that every effort and measures necessary will be employed to root out corruption without fear or favor.

The current Tribunal membership includes, Tsetsele Fantan who is allegedly related to former President Ian Khama who appointed the Tribunal, Justice Zein Kebonang who chairs the Tribunal, and former Chief of Protocol for the late former President Masire, Edward Muyaluka.

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