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Kgosi’s arrest renews public hope, but..

RYDER GABATHUSE
Kgosi taken away PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
FRANCISTOWN: Just when the nation was gripped by hopelessness on the marathon corruption-related case against the former spy chief Isaac Kgosi, there is now a glimmer of hope.

The abrupt and speedily executed arrest of Kgosi has raised hope in some quarters that no one is above the law.

The seemingly unsuspecting Kgosi had just landed at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport when hell broke loose.

That was when the director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Peter Magosi and his courageous lieutenants on Tuesday staged a sting operation and pounced on the nation’s strongman.

For a long time, Kgosi was perceived as the most spoiled civil servant especially during the former president Ian Khama’s rule. He was apparently untouchable and by his admission: he did not report to anyone including the State President.

Kgosi made the arrogant statement before the oversight body, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the past, which earned him the wrath of the Presidency.

This was before the current President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, became fed up with Khama’s blue-eyed boy’s machinations of ‘disrespecting’ his government and replaced him with Magosi who himself was ironically fired by Khama from the military intelligence where he was the helmsman.

The once powerful spy chief cried foul that the motive of the DIS sleuths in arresting him was more to embarrass him than execute justice.

Sunday Standard, a local broadsheet had in its latest edition reported that Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) was on the trail of Kgosi on concerns that he was living beyond his means.

The tax agency wanted to conduct a lifestyle audit of Kgosi in order to satisfy themselves. In essence, it was only a matter of time before Kgosi was arrested and assisted the security agencies scour for evidence of the crimes he is purported to have committed.

Public confidence in the Directorate on Corruption Economic Crime (DCEC) for instance, was already at its lowest ebb as Kgosi walked scot-free for so many years even with such serious allegations levelled against him.

There are many pending cases of corruption before both the DCEC and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) involving top people. These files have been gathering dust on the shelves for many years.

For the uninitiated, Kgosi has pending charges laid by the DCEC some years back, ranging from corruption, money laundering, maladministration, obtaining by false pretences, stealing by a person employed in the public service amongst others.

There was hardly peace between the DIS under Kgosi and the crime-busting agency then under the former DCEC boss, Rose Seretse.

The public has been watching in disappointment as it was reported that the Kgosi docket reportedly shuttled between the offices of the DCEC and the prosecuting authority, DPP, without any hope that Kgosi would one day have his day in court.

The oversight institutions like the DCEC have always been gripped by

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a cry that the Executive was exerting undue influence on them.

The alleged lack of independence of the oversight institution has been seen as a major impediment to effective delivery.

Political interference mostly in the previous Khama administration had reportedly become the order of the day.

Even with this tainted image, the DCEC spokesperson, Phakamile Kraai has indicated in a previous interview that he was proud that the DCEC has a 75% success rate of all cases taken to court, which he called an impressive record.

Most importantly, he said the DCEC investigates everyone regardless of their societal stature as long as they have committed a crime, which falls under their mandate.

As for Kgosi’s case it has seemingly taken forever for him to be taken to court. In other words, the BURS have seemingly moved faster into action than its sister, the DCEC.

University of Botswana (UB) political science lecturer, Leonard Sesa said this week that credit could be given to the BURS or DIS but wondered if the Kgosi arrest is not political as the BDP is lately gripped by factionalism.

“Maybe this is a reflection of those who are in control of the levers of power flexing their muscles as they are in control of the State apparatus or it could genuinely be a case of the security agencies asserting themselves and combating crime,” he said.

Sesa noted that the emergence of the thorny New Jerusalem axis could be a worry to Masisi so much that he may be taking all those who are against him head on, “knowing how Kgosi is closer to former president Khama.”

Sesa was worried that the message sent by the security agencies in combating crime could bring the requisite confidence over such institutions like the DCEC, but admitted: “It’s really confusing now.”

The political analyst was however, adamant, “I think it is clear from Masisi’s actions that whoever pulls him down by whatever action, and he goes down with him/her.”

His assessment of things is that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) New Jerusalem faction associated with Khama has been shaken by the arrest, searching and possibly charging of Kgosi.

He described the situation between the two BDP factions as “militant cadres versus the civillians. In the two camps there is action going on.”

He fears that as things continue to pan out ahead of the impending party’s elective congress in July, some of the influential cadres might find themselves arrested, suspended or even the congress itself postponed by the party’s dominant faction led by Masisi.

“Some people might not be active in the BDP but their financial muscles add value,” he concluded.

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