Former operatives of Botswana’s intelligence apparatus have called for a thorough public relations exercise to exorcise the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) of the scandal and bad publicity that has dogged it since it was incepted.
The ex-spies said the public relations campaign would restore the DIS’s integrity. However, others who spoke on condition of anonymity said the public relations exercise would not serve any purpose unless it is accompanied by the sacking of DIS boss Isaac Kgosi.
“The public relations campaign is a welcome idea. But it will only work if DIS Director Isaac Kgosi steps down,” they said.
Herald Mogale, former Director of Security Intelligence Services (SIS), a now defunct security agency that was dismantled to form the DIS, said it is unfortunate that the DIS is dogged by damaging allegations which are yet to be tested.
He said the allegations are a cause for concern and called for a public relations campaign to restore the image of the DIS.
“Although we are not sure whether what has been written in the newspapers is true or false, there is no doubt that it is damaging to the image of the DIS. That’s why there is need for a campaign to restore the image of the DIS,” he said.
Mogale stated that the allegations are also damaging to the country because the international community is watching the events as they unfold in Botswana with keen interest.
Asked if he would accept a call-up from government for him to come back and provide guidance to the DIS, Mogale said he would be willing to do so.
“I am not as physically fit as I was because of old age, but I am always ready to accede to a call to serve my country at any time,” He said.
He rubbished allegations that the SIS did not hand over all security information during the transition from SIS to DIS.
“I prepared everything and handed over all reports to the Commissioner of Police. I strongly believe he also handed them over to the DIS,” he said.
However, the former security boss strongly believes the spy agency should remain independent from unnecessary scrutiny. He revealed that he was one of the people who strongly advocated for the DIS to be independent, adding that he was very happy when the agency was finally formed.
“Sadly, I had to retire on the same year because I was already 60 years old,” he said.
Mogale also expressed shock and dismay at reports that Tefo Kgotlhane had resigned as DIS Deputy Director.
“He was my Deputy at SIS and a brilliant intelligence officer. His resignation is a huge loss for this country,” he said.
He would not make comparisons between the SIS and DIS, saying he has never worked at DIS. He however said one major difference was the fact that the SIS reported to the Commissioner of Police.
He revealed that the name SIS was coined by former Commissioner of Police, Norman Moleboge after a decision was taken to change the name of the security agency from Special Branch, which was from the colonial era.
Meanwhile, a number of former high ranking intelligence offices who spoke on condition of anonymity, believe the DIS cleansing exercise would be successful only if it also involves the resignation of Director General Isaac Kgosi. They challenged the DIS to recall retired spies to come and give the spy agency strategic direction, saying “the young guys are fumbling, and experience is the best teacher.”
They further called on President Khama to take action before the country is thrown into chaos and insisted that Kgosi cannot hold the country at ransom.