Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TK’s ministry accused of running a private army

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism’s decision to shortlist former officers of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) for positions at its air wing has raised questions about militarisation of the Ministry.

Late last year the ministry flighted an advert in the public media inviting applications for the post of engineers for its Department of Wildlife and National Parks Air Arm.

This publication is reliably informed that no civilian was shortlisted for the advertised positions. In recent years, there have been concerns that Tshekedi Khama’s ministry might be trying to run a parallel military.

The concerns were renewed recently when the ministry recruited majority of its pilots from the army.

“Information we received from officials from the ministry is that only soldiers who had applied have been shortlisted. We have no idea why they overlooked us,” said one of the applicants.

He expressed concern that the aviation industry in Botswana is small adding that it is unfair when other individuals with no military background apply and they are overlooked. The recent development has also stoked rivalry between security agents. 

The ministry’s spokesperson Daniel Moatshe was cagey about giving details of the recruitment in question.

He insisted the process is ongoing. According to Moatshe they have received more than 15 applications for the positions they advertised.

While insiders claimed that the ministry has completed shortlisting successful applicants, Moatshe further insisted that “Shortlisting is still ongoing and will focus on requirements as advertised.”

It is understood that the ministry is offering better remunerations for the officers that it recruits from other government security agencies.

Former deputy commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo who heads the Tourism Intelligence Unit under the Department of National Parks (DWNP) just like Tshekedi Khama is said to be comfortable with recruiting soldiers as they intend to use them in anti poaching activities. The organisation is mandated to spearhead the fight against poaching. 

While the Ministry has since denied the recruitment of Brigadier Peter Magosi as deputy Director of DWNP sources insist that he is Tshekedi Khama’s right-hand man.

Praising Magosi in an earlier interview with Sunday Standard, Khama said, “You know this is the thing that bothers me; the way he understands the military and anything involving military, he will be such an asset because that knowledge is within him.”   The two former soldiers were fire by President Ian Khama under mysterious circumstances.

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