Monday, March 8, 2021

MI, DIS spies stoke clash of BDF generals

The recent plot to oust Botswana Defence Force commander of the ground forces Brigadier Peter Magosi has provided a peep show into how clandestine operations by the Military Intelligence (MI) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) may be fomenting the running feud among Botswana Defence Force generals.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information on how the BDF dirty tricks department masterminded by the MI is being used to settle scores in the running factional feuds among BDF generals. Sergeant Dzikimani Mothobi who is currently facing a Board of inquiry investigation alongside Brigadier Magosi was assigned to eavesdrop on cellular phones and landline phone conversations of former BDF Commander of the Ground Forces Major General Pius Mokgware.

Mothobi has since been removed from MI. Major General Mokgware was embroiled in a divisive factional battle with the army command, especially the Deputy Commander, Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo. Major General Mokgware who was dismissed from the army following a board of inquiry launched a legal challenge against his dismissal and the decision by the military intelligence to tap his phone. The phone tapping case was later settled out of court with the BDF paying an undisclosed sum of money.

The DIS was also implicated in Mokgware’s case. Major General Tiroyamodimo was also dismissed from the army a year later, but this did not settle their rivalry which continued to play itself out on the pages of local newspapers. Next in the line of fire was Major Gen Goitseleene Morake who become the target of an intelligence smear campaign. The campaign began to unravel after an attempt to plant a negative story about Gen Morake in the Sunday Standard failed. The promoters of the campaign believed to be intelligence operatives then tried to plant the story in the Botswana Gazette and one local radio station but both media houses saw through the smear campaign. A number of big names were being mentioned behind the dirty tricks campaign to portray Brig Morake as an irresponsible leader who defaults on his child maintenance. Ironically, Morake presided over the Board of Inquiry that recommended the expulsion of Gen Mokgware.

For years, cloak-and-dagger operations have been hatched at the BDF headquarters with the knifey army command careful not to leave fingerprints. But lately the hits do not seem to be only metaphorical. Brigadier Magosi and Sergeant Mothobi who are being investigated by a BDF Board of Inquiry following the alleged disappearance of the army intelligence surveillance equipment are reported to be top on a hit list that is being whispered in intelligence circles. Also reported to be in the alleged hit list is head of Directorate on Corruption and economic Crime, Rose Seretse.

Brig Magosi, who has a long running rivalry with BDF Commander Lt Gen Galebotswe has also fallen out with DIS Director Isaac Kgosi. Among the first things Lt Gen Galebotswe did when he took over command of the BDF was to remove Brig Magosi from the Military Intelligence. The new BDF commander then ordered an audit on the MI and the case was later referred to the DCEC.

The DCEC however cleared Brig Magosi from any wrong doing. The fight among BDF generals is reported to have affected the work of the military intelligence. BDF insiders revealed how Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse recently walked into an army of hostile BDF officers when he took a tour of the army barracks. “Both the MI and the DIS withheld intelligence about the growing dissent in the army ranks from the minister, and he was literally thrown into the deep end” a source inside the intelligence revealed.

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