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The year that DIS ran amok

DIS arrested its former chief
Critics of the current administration are of the view that little by little, Botswana is beginning to erode its democratic credentials thanks to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) under the Director General Peter Magosi.

When taking over government on April 1, last year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi talked of rescuing the country from years of misrule by the previous administration under former president, Ian Khama.

The first act of the rescue plan involved the employment of Magosi as the new head of DIS despite him having been dismissed from the army with allegation of misusing Military Intelligence funds.

The critics argue that the second phase of the plan was to discredit and humiliate his predecessor openly through Carter Morupisi, the now suspended Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP). The low point however was in the fabrication and deliberate falsification of evidence in the Welheminah ‘Butterfly’ Maswabi case. That was a week before the October 23, 2019.

Since taking over as head of DIS, Magosi has embarked on a course that has resulted in President Masisi now living in a state of perpetual paranoia. President Masisi sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere to a point where it is alleged that he must now carry his own food everywhere. Government institutions such as the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Botswana Police Service and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have had their independence usurped from them. Every investigation and or prosecution is now directed from the DIS office. It is alleged that Magosi decides who is to be investigated and prosecuted for corruption.

That is why it is alleged that DCEC Director General, Joseph Mathambo was in the dark about the so-called Butterfly case. He did not know that one of his investigators

was the lead investigator in this controversial case and had deposed to an affidavit in Court. Thanks to the DIS, there is now a culture of fabricating evidence against perceived adversaries, detractors say. Currently, the government is facing a multi-million pula lawsuit from Dignia Systems, an Israeli security firm, which is demanding P118 million from the DIS being the balance owed from the military equipment and training contract.

Magosi has decided that he would cancel a ‘lawful’ contract without following proper channels. Despite being advised to honour the contract by the Attorney General, Magosi persisted otherwise. For instance, it is argued that in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case, the DPP has been instructed by the DCEC to conceal contractual agreements from court and the accused persons in order to falsely prosecute them and unfairly target and portray Magosi’s predecessor Isaac Kgosi as corrupt.

Trumped up charges against anybody perceived to have been closure to Khama have become a new government policy. Government institutions have for expediency become complacent.

The general public has become accepting of this diminished independence of public institutions. Batswana have become admirers of this new order and are uncritical in their assessment of those in power.

As Ndaba Gaolathe the leader of Alliance for Progressives points out ”right now our political discourse is all or nothing, for or against the President and there is no allowance for intermediate or constructive positions”. The DIS is an obstructive institution and we must safeguard all other institutions from its attack, it is argued.


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