Mmegi Blogs :: Can BDF Commander be jailed?
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Monday 24 September 2018, 15:01 pm.
Can BDF Commander be jailed?

Things happened so fast this past Friday. With the issuance of a warrant of arrest for Botswana Defence Force Commander for failing to comply with a court order that required him to reinstate Romeo and Juliet to their former employment.
By Richard Moleofe Fri 23 Dec 2016, 12:28 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Can BDF Commander be jailed?

What was trending in the social media revealed that a lot of our people still don’t understand our new man at the helm of the defence force. I have avoided writing about Lieutenant General Placid Diratsagae Segokgo because he is a very private person.

There is not much I know about this man. In fact I know much more about his deputy so much that I can generate six episodes about his life in the military. But as for the Commander, I seem to know very little of the man even though I had had several opportunities to fly the Bell 412 while he was captaining it.

Segokgo is a seasoned pilot. A man with a sweet temperament and thus predictable in almost every way. In this manner, I knew that before the close of business on Friday, he would have obeyed the requirements of the court order.

What our civilian friends need to understand is that someone in the line of command failed to execute the court order and the commander was in no way privy to that. Reinstating a fired soldier is a human resource issue and therefore questions regarding the failure to deliver on this rest entirely on Brigadier Kgaswanyane and he was the right candidate for jail.

The commander on daily basis deals with strategic and operational matters. It is the responsibility of his staff officers to deal with issues such as that of fulfilling court orders. The court order was a legal order and orders are taken as orders in the military.

From comments made in the social media, people were questioning how the police were going to execute the warrant of arrest. General Segokgo is certainly arrestable. That is why he rushed to sign off the letter himself and the two soldier’s employment was restored at the stroke of his signature.

People think that he is above the law because he commands men and women  equipped with the best arsenal in this country. Regardless of who is equipped with what, even the most powerful must submit under the Constitution that has helped to set up all these powerful institutions including the military.

My challenge to General Segokgo is that he becomes faithful to the Constitution and not to individuals or any powerful groups. I know him to be a humble hardworking individual and with him comes all the qualifications for a leader of our military.

He has an impeccable record as a career soldier. For the past 33 years he has been in the military, he has not been served with a disciplinary charge sheet by anyone of his superiors. I achieved a similar record in my 20 years of service even though I subverted one charge of overstaying my study scholarship in Cape Town. That was the closest I came to being charged even though I knew I was


going to win the case in a Court Marshall.

Gen Segokgo inherits a demoralised defence force and we cannot blame that on his predecessor. Most have been expressing their frustrations through resignations and early retirements.

Well, not everyone chooses to take an early exit because of frustration, but most do at BDF. A few leave for greener pastures or what may look like greener pastures because the old English adage still stands true, “the grass always looks greener on the other side.”

But here is an unpalatable truth about the rank and file at BDF, they are all looking forward to improved remunerations. This should be the starting point for the new Commander. No matter what new equipment may be coming their way with a P22 billion budget, soldiers are more interested in personal improvement. The current state of their welfare is somewhat undesirable. They will be happier to use the state of the art weapon systems when their bank accounts are looking healthy.

Here is a man who is blessed to be surrounded by his squad mates. From the Deputy Commander, Major General Gotsileene Morake and a host of other brigadiers joined the military with him in 1983.

The list of these brigadiers include Therego Seretse, Lawrence Mosweunyane Rapula, Domcaza Kengaletswe Mokgwathi, Tjama Mukani Mokobi, Solomon Otumiseng Tseleng, William Arthur Frank Jansen and Charles Othusitse Nkele.

The listed men are critical in the successful leadership of the new Commander. They can either lift him to the high pedestal of success and if he fails in his leadership they are the same people that would be responsible for his fall.

There was always a good reason why parents of our generation gave names. I have noticed the Commander’s middle name which is Diratsagae. This can be loosely translated to mean “domestic enemies.”

The commander must be very careful about whom he surrounds himself with. Certainly some in the above list wish he had never reached that position. They might already be working behind the scenes to tarnish his good name and reputation. Read Zulu history to understand the true meaning of how people in your inner circle can destroy you.

But it should be easy working with someone you have slept in the trenches with. You have shared the pain and the suffering that comes with all of that experience.

I was told by the late Captain Charles Raloka that your training was particularly tough and you always never cracked under pressure. You showed meekness and leadership. And that still defines you. Ours followed seven years later and it was even tougher under your deputy. But we are failing to show the brotherhood bond that should be defining us.

Some officers who have been promoted higher up the echelons of leadership think its stupidity to join a whatsapp group of the intake because they are too senior.

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