Friday, October 30, 2020

The President’s men in spy games

The scandal unfolding over the alleged disappearance of the Botswana Defence Force Military Intelligence surveillance equipment is believed to be a legacy of President Khama’s design to harnessing the country intelligence forces to his side. All the players entangled in the scandal are part of President Khama’s circle of associates. DIS Director, Isaac Kgosi who has been called before the BDF Board of Inquiry to testify on his role in the missing GSM jammers and phone data spying equipment was the president batman during his term in the military and is currently his confidante as president. Brigadier Peter Magosi and Sergeant Dzikimani Mothobi who are being investigated by the BDF Board of Inquiry are also both Khama’s men.

Brigadier Magosi has been in Khama’s faction from as far back as when the president was deputy commander of BDF. The BDF commander Lt General Galebotswe who convened the Board of Inquiry and Colonel Cullen Nkete, the current head of MI are also known Khama loyalists. This is believed to be the fallout from Khama’s design to ensure that both the DIS and the MI are loyal to him. The close association between the DIS leadership and the MI command who have been rallying around Khama from the days at the barracks blurred the operational lines between the DIS and MI. This is not helped by the fact that The National Intelligence Community (NIC) established under section 27 of the Intelligence and Security Services (ISS) Act provides for coordination by the country’s intelligence agencies under the auspices of the DISS.

The blurring of lines between the DIS and the MI is at the centre of the controversy over the missing surveillance equipment. According to sources, from as far back as the time the DIS was established, intelligence equipment changed hands between MI and DIS without regard to laid procedure and with no questions asked.

According to the Convening Order of the Inquiry, a copy of which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, the inquiry is to report on among other things; “ Whether there are laid down procedures for the storage and accountability of GSM jammers and Cellbrites at MI and whether the procedures were followed and if not, why; Whether there are procedures to be followed for the withdrawal of GSM jammers and Cellbrites from the store to wheever it is going to be use and whether the withdrawal of GSM jammers and Cellbrites is done in accordance with the laid procedure.”

The Permanent Secretary to the President, Eric Molale who has also been called to explain his role in the missing GSM Jammers and Cellbrites is also understood to be part of President Khama’s close circle of friends. Although there are deep divisions inside the president’s camp, both factions remain loyal to President Khama, who is expected to prevail upon Brig Magosi and Sgt Mothobi to drop their case against the BDF.

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