Sunday, December 5, 2021

Trust issues mar transfer of power from Khama to Masisi

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander Lt Gen Placid Segokgo and Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services DIS deputy Director General Kooes Kooagile are believed to be the only two civil servants who were in on the plan to fire Isaac Kgosi albeit on a strict need to know basis.

The Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe and Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi were only told shortly before Kgosi was axed while Chief of Military Intelligence, Cullen Nkete was kept in the dark.

The operation, which was commanded from outside the government enclave underscores prevailing trust issues between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the country’s civil services believed to be beholden to former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and the axed DIS boss.

Lt Gen Segokgo was brought in when the Office of the president wanted to get Isaac Kgosi’s brother Colonel Shadrack Kgosi out of the way.

Sunday Standard has turned up information showing that Colonel Shadrack Kgosi and Brigadier ‘Beast’ Seboko left on 27 April after they were given a less that 48 hours notice following insistence from The Office of the President.

Colonel Shadrack Kgosi who is described as former President Ian Khama’s trusted lieutenant is Deputy Commander for 1st Infantry Brigade. This is the Gaborone ground forces brigade.

Security insiders told Sunday Standard that the move was part of a bigger plan (security risk management) designed to help President Mokgweetsi Masisi in relieving Kgosi of his duties without risking a backlash from the army.

BDF spokesperson, Major Fana Maswabi confirmed that Colonel Shadrack Kgosi is currently in India doing Higher Defence Orientation Course, a training being offered by the Government of India to Botswana Defence Force as part of existing bilateral relations between the two countries.

“The Course is being offered on regular basis; hence the BDF has plenty of senior officers who have been trained on the same course. You will note that the course is being attended by various countries from Asia, Africa, Europe,” said Maswabi.

Maswabi said BDF was not privy to any information for any plans designed to help President Masisi in relieving Isaac Kgosi of his duties.

Shortly before Kgosi was given the boot, Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe was allegedly instructed by Office of the President in the morning to deploy a few senior officials to oversee the ‘smooth transition of power at DIS.’ First to be given the assignment was Senior Assistant Commissioner, David Mosetse, Kgosi’s most trusted lieutenant. He allegedly tried to duck out of the assignment and requested that Deputy Commissioner (operations) Dinah Marathe should lead the police team in the operation.  Marathe allegedly refused insisting that she had just arrived from Francistown. In the end, Mosetse allegedly forced to be part of the operation.

Contacted for a comment, Makgophe denied that police were involved in the operation. But sources who were at the scene insist that there was a dispatch of police officers overseeing the whole process in case the operation went wrong.

 

Kgosi’s deputy Kooes Kooagile was also in on the plan and Sunday Standard can reveal that he was in touch with Magosi on phone the day Kgosi was sacked. Kgosi fate was sealed the moment he left the DIS headquarters for the Office of the President. Information gathered indicates that no sooner had Kgosi left his office than Kooagile started drafting an internal memo to DIS directors informing them about the change of guard.

Kooagile’s internal memo dated 2nd May 2018, states that “Addresses are informed that Mr. Isaac Kgosi has retired from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security as the Director General.”  

Kooagile further states that “Brigadier Peter Magosi has been appointed as the Director General of the Directorate.”

It is understood that Kgosi was sucker punched and did not see through the convert operation when he received a call from Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi inviting him to show up at the Office of the President. It is understood that Kgosi was under the impression that the meeting at the Office of the President was a routine briefing by security agents heads to the President. Morupisi allegedly did not have prior knowledge of the decision to sack Kgosi and was instructed on the morning of May 2nd by Masisi to draft Kgosi’s letter of dismissal and append his signature.

Kgosi’s ouster is believed to have been masterminded by Masisi’s circle of advisors. It is alleged that among them, are former BDF Commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire,  Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Treasure Satar Dada and two ministers who are former soldiers. The two men laughed off the claims when asked to comment on the allegations. While both Masire and Dada confirmed that they are very close and have a cordial relationship with Masisi, they denied that they were instrumental in Kgosi’s firing. It is not clear what role the President’s brother, retired Brigadier Thulaganyo Masisi played in the operation to sack Kgosi. He is believed to be part of retired army officers who provide the President with advice on security matters.

Reports indicate that when Kgosi arrived at the Office of the President he was allegedly slapped with a dismissal letter by Morupisi. Insiders say while Kgosi was still shocked at the contents of the letter, a VIP protection unity officers who  were heavily armed asked Kgosi to hand over his official gadgets including his service pistols. Kgosi was then asked to accompany the VIP protection unity in their car to DIS headquarters. There are conflicting versions on when Brigadier Magosi arrived at the DIS offices. While some claimed that he followed the VIP protection vehicle to the DIS offices, others insist that the VIP protection officers found him inside Kgosi’s office together with Kooagile.

Kgosi allegedly found card board boxes awaiting him to clear his desk. The VIP protection unity also allegedly accompanied him to his house to handover official gadgets and documents. It alleged that though Kgosi had seen his sacking coming, he was not sure when his dismissal would be executed.

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