As I write this, the drama that unfolded Tuesday night at Sir Seretse Khama Airport, being the arrest of the former spy chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, was still trending. A Hollywood-type of script is what we saw and continued into the week.
While the charges against Kgosi were still to be proffered, with speculation that he was investigated for tax evasion, the new spy chief, Brigadier Fana Magosi did the unthinkable. He released the former from a night in a holding cell at the Botswana Defence Force barracks in Mogoditshane, for being “co-operative”.
This left a bitter taste as many wondered if any other citizen had threatened, publicly, to overthrow the government and even insulted the President, such a person would have been treated differently. In our naivety, most of us believed what Kgosi said would attract treason charges. We were mistaken, just as we could be mistaken to the motive and intention with the high profile arrest. In fact, many of us mistakenly assumed Kgosi’s principal for the many decades of their lives in public office, former president Ian Khama was next. We assumed wrong.
To save ourselves further disappointment, it may be better to challenge ourselves to rally around why the arrest, and charges were necessary against this feared man. Under the protection of his boss Khama, Kgosi was to say the least, a rogue spy who believed, and from the utterances he made during the arrest, that he is power unto himself.
These two, their families and friends have the wrong belief that they own Botswana, and therefore can do as they liked. They did that for our miserable 10, even 20 years of our lives, and continue to want to terrorise us, Batswana from their ill-gotten comforts.
Kgosi’s power, was and continues to be Khama, who created a rogue institution, Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) for him. As he told parliamentarians last year - just before President Mokgweetsi Masisi, showed him the door - he did not report to anyone, not even the President. Kgosi has always had that arrogance, and believed he was untouchable.
With Khama behind him, he threw his weight around, with a sense of self importance. Following the arrest, I followed commentary and found some even from amongst the opposition ranks declaring sympathy and unhappiness at Kgosi’s alleged humiliation.
Humiliation? Kgosi is the last to claim public embarrassment, and his entire career as intelligence boss was anchored on disregard for people’s dignity. There have been many cases, some reported but most spoken in hushed voices, where he meted out violence during raids and arrests of alleged wrongdoers. The DIS under Kgosi, would walk into people’s homes, assault a man in front of his wife and children.
There have been cases where his target would be beaten up, kicked, pinned to the ground, have their hands pulled to
In many cases, we learnt from information shared in hushed voices, as fear under Khama/Kgosi misrule was the order of the day, that some victims never returned home to share their ordeal. While Kgosi’s daughter could move forward and be allowed to hug her father, many of his victims’ children have had no such opportunity. Some, would never, as their fathers are six feet under. So, for MP Ignatius Moswaane, and surprisingly the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to claim Kgosi’s public arrest was wrong, is to spit on Batswana who needed to see that the mighty can be brought down.
The bitterness that the Khama/Kgosi left, had social media celebrating, with some even wondering why Magosi and his arresting team, did not met out violence against Kgosi, so as to give him a taste of his own medicine. And to release him back to his Phakalane multi-storey house, which many of us assume was built with ill-gotten gains, could be best described as an insult to the nation. The arrogance in the corrupt leadership of the recent past, which ruled with intimidation, fear and violence, is when a man can reprimand arresting officers for handcuffing him.
He does undermine and belittle nation Botswana. Like his boss, Khama, and the Khama clan and their friends, he holds wrong belief that they own us. In their distorted thinking, they don’t think any other Motswana, but themselves have a right to rule. They have warped minds to think that Batswana see them, only them, as the rightful heirs to the presidency and all that comes with power.
Although most Batswana, even, and especially within the divided Botswana Democratic Party, are still to be convinced that Masisi can withstand and defeat the Khama/Kgosi onslaught, there is growing sense of the need to defend the President so as to block the former’s attempt to grab back power.
The fear remains that if Khama were to find any opportunity, to return, even through someone else, Botswana will not only go back to the terror of the recent past, but find ourselves worse off – politically, socially and economically. The recent past needs not revisited, and the nation looks to Masisi, and just as in the UDC, to defend this nation. The Khama/Kgosi regime should never be.