Fana Why? Magosi's Kang Showdown

Peter Magosi clinging onto the President's vehicle PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Peter Magosi clinging onto the President's vehicle PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

KANG: One thing is clear. The director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Brigadier Peter Fana Magosi loves a show. And at the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Kang congress, Magosi put on his best show yet.

He was, like always, dressed for the show.  His trademark baseball cap, embroidered with initials ‘PF’ on the right side. Clean-shaven. Dark glasses that give him the James Bond look. He topped it off with the usual khaki safari vest that was made famous by former president Ian Khama and his security detail. The vest covered the pistol holstered to his waist.

The spy chief’s Kang showdown was around the President.  At the congress Magosi assumed what is called Number One position in the bodyguard security protocol, right behind President Mokgweetsi Masisi. He was the main man in what the US Secret Service call The Shift – the bodyguards around the President. It appears Magosi has enlisted a new presidential security team.

 Almost all the men who were appointed by his predecessor Isaac Kgosi to guard the President have been redeployed far away from Masisi.

Kgosi’s men who we first met on April 1, 2018, during Masisi’s inauguration mostly resembled the President in physic, height and appearance.  They simply looked like the President and that is apparently common practice when selecting The Shift. But unlike Khama’s security detail, Masisi’s protection team is always changing. The only constant feature is the spy chief donning his PF cap. It appears that in Kang, Magosi invested a lot in presidential security than ever before. Kang must have been his biggest security operation since being appointed the DIS director general.

He had deployed so many agents that some observers were saying they might have even outnumbered the BDP ‘delegates’.  From a ruling party’s highly anticipated congress that was scheduled to have a tightly contested presidential election, Magosi displayed the muscle of his organisation and it even seems he gets inspiration from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s security detail. 

One would think Magosi should be the big boss who manages the most important part of presidential protection, which is said to be preparation. But it is evident that Magosi is not that kind of intelligence chief as he prefers to be right in the thick of action and takes over The Shift.  This is unorthodox for a highly trained intelligence chief to be doing the actual bodyguard work.  Magosi has a Masters in Defence Studies from Kings College in the United Kingdom, Masters in Strategic Studies from Carslie, USA and he is an Intelligence Fellow from Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in the US.

His modus operandi with presidential security therefore is seen as unconventional. He had plainclothed men and women standing under the shade of Camelthorn trees in the bushes around the venue at Matsha College. But the real show began when the President arrived. The presidential convoy comprised all white SUVs mainly Toyota Land Cruisers VX V8. During the arrivals on the first day of the congress on Friday afternoon, Magosi who drove behind the President’s vehicle jumped out of the vehicle like a film stuntman to rush to cover the President and the First Lady, Neo Masisi. 

He then provided the human shield for Masisi all the way to the top table where he took the seat right behind the President. What was evident from Kang is that the President’s security does not perfectly plan Masisi’s logistics. This may be the main reason why the President keeps mismanaging time and arriving late at functions.  In most occasions the path is not always demarcated and guarded to stop members of the public from mobbing the President. 

This usually creates delays since Masisi is too friendly and would greet many people; even pose for selfies with some, which eats out more time.  The poor logistics, however, bring out the best action out of Magosi who would take over the show and push through the crowds for the President to keep moving.

When the President left the marquee at Matsha after being given a fresh mandate as president of the BDP, Magosi pulled his most daring stunt. After closing the car door for the President and ordering the convoy to leave, he jumped onto the side of the vehicle and hung onto the moving SUV on Masisi’s window side, as the President’s human shield. Or maybe it is the nature of the job since his predecessor Kgosi used to steal the show by conducting one-man traffic roadblocks.  But Magosi’s love for the show even stunned Kgosi during his arrest at the airport.

During the infamous arrest that was captured live by the press, as Kgosi was handcuffed and ordered to a small room for the search, the former feared spy chief cried to Magosi saying, “Fana why? You even called the press! Fana! Fana! Fana!”

On Saturday as he was precariously clinging to Masisi’s vehicle, Kgosi’s words came back, “Fana why?”

Maybe, just maybe, this whole show is a promotion for the PF caps.

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