Masisi's armoured car crashes

The presidential car-wreck
The presidential car-wreck

One of the presidential armoured vehicle drivers escaped death by a whisker recently when he was involved in a near fatal accident near Masama along the A1 highway on his way to attend a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) launch in Selebi-Phikwe.

The driver suffered broken ribs, according to sources close to the case. The director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Peter Magosi, who was initially reluctant with details, claimed that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s life was still in danger.

The mishap took place on August 31, 2019 when the ‘specialised’ driver was to be part of the convoy that would transport Masisi around Selebi-Phikwe. 

The President had flown to the former copper mining town where he was launching his blue-eyed boy, the BDP parliamentary candidate for Selebi-Phikwe East, Amogelang Majuta.

According to a source, the Toyota Land Cruiser VX V8, which was purchased for P2. 8 million from the United Kingdom five years ago, overturned after the driver lost control at Masama. The tough built vehicle was left badly damaged and was likely to be written off, sources said.

Magosi confirmed the accident. “That is true, we are still investigating what happened. What I can confirm is that this was not a normal accident. As I have said before, the life of the President is in danger. We are always working to ensure his safety and we are working hard to connect all the dots to get to the bottom of this”.

Magosi linked the alleged threat to the Masisi’s life to corruption. “Corruption is a web and takes a long time to crack. We need time to get this country where it needs to be. We really need to step up our security. Our country and our President are in danger of external forces who are interested in the resources of our country who will kill and destabilise. We do not want that to prevail,” he said.

In July this year, Magosi revealed that he advised for the presidential aircraft to turn back during a trip to Mozambique due to an assassination threat.

Masisi’s official aircraft, en route to Maputo, Mozambique was forced to make a U-turn mid-air in June, following intelligence that would-be assassins were waiting in Mozambique, Magosi told the media. Masisi was supposed to address the 12th U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, capital of Mozambique.

Responding to questions from the media then, Magosi confirmed that indeed the President had to abandon a trip to Mozambique on June 18 after being advised that it was not safe for him to proceed. Magosi did not reveal much on the incident but said some non-state actors were behind the threat.

Former president, Ian Khama has repeatedly dismissed reports of assassination attempts on Masisi as nothing but a ploy by the BDP to cast doubt and suspicion on political opponents.

“What is extremely unfortunate is that they know as well as you and I do that it is totally untrue, but when they keep putting it out there, it actually damages the reputation of our country.

Botswana has always been known as a peaceful and stable country and we have never had a coup or reports of assassination plots in our country and we will never have those carried out, Batswana are a peace loving people and they will never resort to that.

So this is an instrument to try to cast doubt and suspicions on political opponents. That’s all it’s about,” Khama was quoted as saying.

Early this month, Magosi confirmed that DIS has beefed up security for Sefhare/Ramokgonami constituency aspirant, Dorcas Makgato amidst fears for her life.

“It is not only her that we have enhanced security for. There are other ministers, public servants and permanent secretaries that we have given security. If there is a reason for someone to be fearful about their life and our office is satisfied after doing its investigations, then we do provide such security.

Security has also been beefed up for some of our witnesses in corruption cases or those that have information that we need relating to corruption,” Magosi said.

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