Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Sissy Boy Magic: The Real “Lepako”

The campaigns for the 2009 general elections by various political parties were full of drama, with the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) numero-uno and the country’s former president, Lt General Ian Khama branded himself ‘Lepako.

I have argued elsewhere that in Ian Khama there has never been any “Lepako”. It was just an imaginary feeling that Khama had. Khama fantasized about being “Lepako” and was however, loved by many due to the fact that he is the Kgosi Kgolo of Bangwato. Period! His boastful remarks that he was a “ Lepako” can be attributed to the fact that he knew he had the real back up ÔÇô The Terror Squad led by the former spy chief Isaac Kgosi and used it as his shield for protection and instilling fear amongst  people.

Trust me dear reader, it worked. To pretend it did not, I will be economical with the truth.

Kgosi was feared by many. Even the Legislators and senior government officials feared him. On appearing before the Public Accounts committee recently, former Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang who was subpoenaed to give evidence to the PAC said that ministers and senior government officials fear the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS). Kebonang further added, “There is fear around the DISS ÔÇô whether it is real fear or otherwise. Even the DCEC (Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime) fears the DISS and so do I. This is an institution you cannot say no to!”

The Weekend Post of the 9th April 2018 reported that members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who have been tasked to review the said National Petroleum fund (NPF) and report back to parliament are living in fear after being warned that there was a plan within the DIS to either harm or kill them.  According to the paper, Hon Keorapetse who is a Chairman of PAC reported the matter to the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the Commissioner of Police.

Even on the day of his dismal Kgosi was a feared man. In his interview with the Botswana Gazette, Sonny Serite, it is reported Kgosi said:

“My suspicion increased when I got office of the President and saw some of my officers that are never assigned there. I knew there and then that chingwenyana chiyapo (something’s going on).  I then asked for the body guards to get out of the office so I could talk to Morupisi in private and it was at this point that Morupisi explained that the reason he had bodyguards in the office was because it was an instruction from the bosses as they feared he (Kgosi) might endanger Morupis’s life because he goes around with a gun”. ( Botswana Gazette 9th May 2018).

“You know I am not stupid and I never let my guard down. I long saw it coming even when I walked side by side with the President during the recent BDF celebrations. I just talked to him and smiled because at the time he was my boss and I am professional like that, (Botswana Gazette 09th May 2018).”

Ironically this is the very same man who on appearing before the Public Accounts Committee recently said that he does not consult anyone, including the President of the country. Kgosi on appearing before PAC maintained that as the head of the intelligence service he does not consult anyone when it comes to the dealings of the DISS because he is the accounting officer. The spy chief also maintained that he will not answer any questions relating to documents which are classified.

The recent development made me revisit the writings of the self exiled Bakgatla Ba Kgafela King, Kgosi Kgafela Kgafela who in his book the King’s Journal wrote:

“They pretend to protect us, but instead kill other human’s gangster style. Kgosi and Khama are not qualified to advise anybody against anything, let alone matters of national security. The entire legislation that allows them to hide information from the public on the basis that our national security interests demand secrecy is the same loophole that they use to abuse fellow countrymen and steal public funds and property. The work of the DIS remains secret to those whom it purports to protect. It has caused more chaos and anxiety within society. The DIS is nothing but a vehicle through which a few steal public money under the secrecy of national security”.

Who can ever forget an article by Mmegi correspondent when he wrote “At their best, the Courtrooms at the Maun Magistrate Court resemble a hospital causality ward with the accused persons nursing all sorts of injuries. In some cases, the accused person would be nursing a broken rib while others would have bandages all over.”  The description by Mmegi correspondent Lekopanye Mooketsi was not synonymous with Maun Magistrate Court only but could have been prevalent with other courts throughout the country as well. Rampant shootings, killings and assaults at the hands of plain clothes security officers became a norm and practice under President Ian Khama’s regime. People were being killed and assaulted in chillingly high numbers”. The cold-blood gunning down of John Kalafatis was just a tip of an iceberg. Previously, there have been other cases of this nature and all these were subsequently followed by cold blooded shooting and assaults on many citizens and non citizens alike”. Amongst the many victims brutally gunned down at the hands of plain clothes security officers includes Mothusi Sephiri of Maun.

“Mothusi Sephiri was shot at his home in Sanyedi ward in what appeared to have been a case of mistaken identity”.  “Even the police and the leader of the patrol team on that fateful night Gaositwe Nyame admitted that Sephiri was not the suspect they were looking for. After taking Sephiri’s life, the police gave Sephiri’s family P 5000.00 for funeral costs, but the poor family was warned that this did not mean that the police were taking full responsibility for the shooting.”  (Mmegi, Lekopanye Mooketsi).

“Jeffrey Ogopeng of Serowe, Zachariah Rankwalla of Palapye and Marate Molebalwa of Palapye’s are no more (May their souls rest in peace).  The trio were gunned down on the 3rd December 2008 by the police on alleged robbery of security company vehicle that was transporting money in Serowe. Previously in September 2008, Francistown police killed three other alleged robberies who were believed to be foreigners” (Mmegi, Lekopnaye Mooketsi).

Security officers had become law unto themselves and justice  was settled through the barrel of gun on the alleged criminal suspects. Interestingly the state’s did not consider such killings as anything to write home about and it is on record that one or two killings should not be considered bad. Even to this day, those who ordered the killing of JK have not been brought before the courts of law as is the case with those who shot and gun downed Mothusi.

As President Masisi develops his road map to take this nation to greater heights and make Botswana great again, as the bacon of democracy and an African Miracle, the onus is on Masisi and his team to introspect and reconcile the political differences his predecessor had with its citizens as well as Bakgatla Ba Kgafela King, Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela Kgafela II.  There is an urgent need for Sissy boy to carry out DISS Audit and to revisit the extra judicial killings.

Sissy Boy needs to adopt an agenda for change that will address issues of educational crisis, youth un employment, civil ÔÇô military relations and introduce health care reforms geared towards strengthening health systems and introduce universal health coverage.  In doing this Sissy Boy needs not shun the academia and professionals. Unlike his predecessor who had issues with the academia; Sissy Boy needs to work closely with them, he should have some of them in his team of advisors across various disciplines.

Sissy Boy also needs to be advised that time is now to bury the hatchet between Bakgatla Ba Kgafela impasse and the state. It is now time to FORGIVE and FORGET Bakgatla Ba Kgafela miss their King, they want him back home and their main wish is to see the State dropping the charges leveled against him, so that he can be free to visit home whenever, he wishes to.

It is rather unfortunate for some news papers are going on a crusade to spread lies and are trying so hard to continue to sow seed of discord between King Kgafela Kgafela II and the state. Such lies are not necessary and must be treated with caution. 

It is on the basis of the foregoing that Sissy Boy deserves the brand name ‘Lepako’. The term ‘Lepako’ in Setswana literally means a strong and tough unbreakable log. Sissy Boy must also ensure that he provides psychological support and counseling to both Tshetlha and Spanere.

Thabo Lucas Seleke, writing from Seleme Farms, Rasesa


Read this week's paper