National Governments all over the world are concerned with security and threats to their sovereign security. Security agencies go by different names, from FBI to DIS. These agencies are primarily established to gather internal and external intelligence to establish the potential threat to the state and the general populace. DIS is no exception to this rule. It was established during Rre Mogae’s tenure but for some odd but not entirely surprising reason, has been associated with His Excellency the President, Rre Khama. I suspect, the criticism, unfair as it is, could be leveled against anyone occupying his position.
Botswana like so many other countries is not immune from terrorist attacks, human trafficking, money laundering e.tc. If you ask, the establishment of DIS was imminent and we need not apologise for it. Having set this brief narration, one can only say that, Botswana Press especially private media has gone out of its way to vilify DIS as an institution used by the President to settle scores, that taps people’s phones, kills innocent citizens.
Batswana are into each other’s lives so much that you do not need DIS to know who is doing what, where and when. Take the examples of the Late Kalafati and Nchindo, where the organization was falsely accused by the media as having played a part in their demise. No evidence, other than conjuctures, speculations, rumours, was provided. With the recent court appearance of members of the military police, we now know that DIS was not involved. We await an apology from the press for unnecessarily making us distrustful of our own agencies.
It is shocking that the press continues to promote mistrust between the public and DIS. One recent example is front page article alleging that DIS was busying flooding courts with applications to intercept people’s phones. The article published without giving the Director of DIS an opportunity to comment did not carry any news worthy material. If it is true that DIS has approached courts, which it is entitled to do, isn’t this reflective of major threats to the country? The press article did not tell us what the reasons for the court applications by DIS were, but left us to speculate. One is tempted to ask whether the press coverage of DIS has any objectivity or is meant to tarnish people’s reputations. Whilst I hold no brief for the Director of DIS, the man deserves credit for putting up a functioning organization. He also deserves to be given a fair assessment by the media.
As a Motswana, I have no problem with the establishment of DIS. It is an institution that goes beyond an individual and has so far served the country well. Where, we need to criticize it, by all means. We must be proud, that in its infancy, Botswana’s DIS has been credited with providing information that has led to arrest of persons wanting to destabilize the world cup. Al-Qaeda suspects have been deported from Botswana, armed robbers arrested in some instances before they could rob anybody. Isn’t it time we gave credit where it is due.