Mmegi Online :: Kgosi as I knew him
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Tuesday 11 December 2018, 17:43 pm.
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Kgosi as I knew him

FRANCISTOWN: Over two decades ago, Isaac Kgosi became very popular as the then vice president Ian Khama’s senior private secretary.
By Ryder Gabathuse Fri 11 May 2018, 15:12 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Kgosi as I knew him








This was shortly after he was retired from the army to join civilian life at the Office of the President where he served under his former army commander, Khama.

At the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Kgosi was Khama’s right hand man, or his aide if you like. He traversed the length and breadth of the country with Khama who as the vice president travelled extensively to acclimatise himself with the political terrain he would be serving in. This means Kgosi became very visible in the public space. Apparently, Kgosi came across as a quiet and dedicated man by Khama’s side.

Kgosi will become a permanent feature at all the events that Khama attended. He will always be remembered as an accessible Khama’s spokesperson beating his successors, Colonel Duke Masilo and Brigadier George Tlhalerwa to the game.

There was always something hidden beneath Kgosi’s serious demeanour that left people talking and suspicious. Some believed that he was always going armed in public, charges that he dismissed with a forced giggle.

Kgosi would become even more visible in the public space after Khama was elected the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairperson at an elective congress in Gantsi in 2003. Khama had vanquished veteran and popular politician, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

It meant more work for Khama who dabbled as the VP and party chairperson. Equally, it meant that Kgosi’s visibility was more pronounced.

As Khama’s spokesperson, Kgosi was a constant newsmaker articulating the position of his master. This time, Kgosi was soft spoken and cooperated with reporters. He knew that the public had the right to know information in his possession through the scribes.

Things took an abrupt twist when Khama ascended to state presidency in 2008 whilst Kgosi took his way to pioneer at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security as the founding director general.

Yours truly remembers at an event hosted by the department of Immigraton in Palapye at The Nest Lodge where former minister Peter Siele had gathered his regional immigration chiefs to address them on the subject of corrosive corruption within the department.

At the time, Siele was worried by corruption in the department that formed part of his docket. Guess who was the guest speaker? You guessed it right, it was the feared head of the DIS himself, Kgosi. Photographer, Moreri Sejakgomo, accompanied this reporter.

When Kgosi’s time to address the regional chiefs, he stopped the meeting a bit and sought time with yours truly so that he could clarify a few things before his address.

He had a concern that he was going to present ‘classified information’ in the presence of reporters from the private press and feared that it would not augur well with his intelligence and security beliefs.

For the first time, I came to know that Kgosi was secretive in his dealings with the public.

At our brief meeting outside, Kgosi wanted assurance that no classified information will be shared with the reading public. He would announce to the meeting that he was not comfortable with media presence as it limited him to share matters that his office was dealing with as opportunities for corruption, especially relating to

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the immigration bosses.

Once the story was published, Kgosi made a follow up call explaining that his office can continue to benefit from interaction with the media. Unfortunately, the DIS under Kgosi’s leadership operated more like a secretive security organ limiting media access and leaving more room for public perception – good or bad.

Negative public perception on the DIS would later grow mostly buoyed by reports of extra-judicial killings and abuse of suspects. Because the DIS had chosen to operate as a secretive security organ, its image was badly battered by the negative reports.

As the negative public perception grew, the attitude and behaviour of the DIS generally reflected on the attitude of its leadership. Although the DIS needed not become friend to anyone, it also did not have to be anybody’s enemy.

The DIS lost public confidence for good when its leader Kgosi was implicated in corruption, money laundering and other charges which saw him duly charged although he is yet to have his day in court. At some stage, Kgosi moved swiftly in an endeavour to kill his case by employing one of the key investigators in his case at the DIS and paid him a hefty salary.

This man was a key witness in the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) case. His recruitment left the DCEC case very shaky, vulnerable and it could be the reason why Kgosi is yet to have his day in court even up to now after so many years of the case shuttling between the DCEC and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Towards his end of days at the helm of the DIS, for whatever reason, the cooperative and softspoken Kgosi that I knew had changed. Whilst he continued as a newsmaker, Kgosi now had become uncooperative, especially with the parliamentary oversight body, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to account for public funds.

It had become an annual occurrence that whilst he was paraded before the PAC, Kgosi chose to hide the security organ’s expenditure through the security concern clause. Worse, his pronouncement that he was not accounting to anybody left him vulnerable to the President Mokgweetsi Masisi regime that is set to uproot senior civil servants that are implicated in corruption and failing the nation.

As a result of his hard stance before the PAC, Kgosi is yet to account for the National Petroleum Fund’s (MPF) P250 million.

As it is, the Matsiloje-born former intelligence and security chief, Kgosi, who was relieved of his job recently by Masisi for undisclosed reasons has since challenged anyone who wants to charge him to do so at his own peril.

He seems to be holding very tight to top secrets that affect some of the country’s head honchos. It, however, remains to be known as to whether it is the DIS that hardened the former softspoken Kgosi or it is the people that he worked with or the DIS Act that is to blame for the tough and rough Kgosi.

Like any human being, Kgosi has had his good side, especially with the media before the advent of the DIS.

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