Rre Moleofe, allow me to respond to your recent column in one of the local newspapers where you mumbled about the Human Resource Affairs at the Botswana Defense Force; my employer. You must know that whenever I have to respond to your misdirected anger and half-truths of your column, I do so with a bit of guilt. I do so knowing that I am probably being just like you, I am probably not keeping my oath to keep military affairs off the public radar. As you will recall, part of the military code of ethics is that we keep military issues within the military even after resigning or retiring. We are bound to do that even after leaving the military in the not so honourable way as was your case. I apologise for reminding you that you were just a low ranking officer. Not that there is anything wrong with being a low ranking officer but that it is so wrong for someone who served at the Social Welfare Unit to try hard pretending they have an idea about the future and the structures of the BDF. Your role at the BDF, what you were paid for, was to simply read the Bible to those who wished to listen to verses. There is no how a social welfare officer could be involved in National Security Strategies.
Before I go far, let me correct one of the gravest mistakes you did in that column. You said that the National Security Strategy document does not exist. You are terribly wrong. Part of the reason why you think it does not exist is because there has never been a reason to share it with you or the whole military personnel. It is a closely guarded document that if was to fall on wrong hands such as yours, the whole national security will fall apart because people like you tend to discuss military strategies and operations in the public domain and in the process putting lives of Batswana at risk. I am glad you never laid your hands and eyes on that document, you would have after getting excited like a teenager who had just discovered puberty, published it on your column. I will not be tempted to correct you on other allegations you made least I expose the National Security Strategy to wrong minds such as yours.
Let me also correct you that writing about European History taught from form four in Senior Schools does not show any expertise in military. It is merely history and in certain instances as in your case, distorting history to seek relevance. That countries sold their arms at the end of the cold war and other global peace threatening exercises is public knowledge. It does not need an expertise. It is information given free from senior secondary schools and enhanced at university level. For us who have had the advantage of being sent for further training in the administration of military, we were fortunate to also have such as part of the training package. You will not know, your training could have never been about such, it centred on being a chaplain.
That China and the United States of America are reducing their military personnel is old news. It is all over international news channels. It does not need an expert to tell us, the countries involved have themselves gone public about it. It is not the first time that it is happening, it happens time and again sometimes at the insistence of the United Nations Security Council in the interest of global peace through growing global trust so that the world does not return to cold war years. There are instances where it happens because the military concerned will be restructuring and aligning its operations with emerging trends. There are times again where countries simply say these statements to mislead their perceived enemies. These statements are also used by countries using their militaries for propaganda propagation so that those who love peace to prevail in their countries will also have something to be happy about. Rre Moleofe, these are basic military intelligence modules that you never qualified to be trained on.
The reader will also be interested to know that through the use of strict discipline, the BDF trainers turn civilians into trained soldiers ready to serve Botswana. This transition is, of course, painful by design. But the situation is easier for other units in the military such that which Retired Chaplain Moleofe served at; Social Welfare. At the Social Welfare Unit, even if they are sent for international exercises, they are trained mainly at that; counseling soldiers and their families, praying and carrying out humanitarian duties such as providing water and food to soldiers on duty. Such BDF personnel will mostly work with institutions such as Red Cross and departments responsible for national disasters during incidents of natural disasters such as floods and wild fires. This is where retired Chaplain Moleofe was serving.
Rre Moleofe, you mention that the BDF was better off administratively during the days of former president Ketumile Masire. I put to you that the military training is more rigorous both in ground, air and intelligence than it was then. I remind you that the numbers of troops have more than doubled now than then. The reader should also know that the equipment and welfare of the troops have improved greatly. Though I am not a politician and do not wish to be one, me and you know that you are trying to score political points for yourself with politicians whom you have since become a part of. You are still though on the same note acknowledging that the current President, General Khama who was the commander of the BDF during Masire’s time did a sterling job.
I am responding to you because like many of my colleagues here at BDF, we are disturbed by your continued misrepresentation of the truth and facts about BDF in your column. Pretending that you have some form of authority to predict the future of the BDF and the audacity to try and put forth a discussion on the structure of the BDF is being dishonest to the highest point. It is okay, you don’t have to lie pretending that you have been a real soldier. Many have served the BDF under not necessarily military roles such as; cooks, gardeners, veterinarians, chaplains such as yourself. Those people have since left the BDF but do not need to falsely glorify themselves and pretend that they were real soldiers. They have moved on with their lives. You could do better with doing the same. You were never a soldier, you will never be, and BDF was simply being kind by giving you a military title. Stop pretending that you have any idea about balancing military equipment with welfare of troops. The only procurement you were involved in has always been that of buying tissues for those you counseled and glasses to provide them with water; not forgetting the bibles. Your role has always been to take care of the emotional needs of families of Soldiers, their wives, children and nannies though we all know what ended up happening during your supposed counseling sessions. As I mentioned in my previous conversations with you on the same platform, this is a conversation we will both prefer not to get into.
Lieutenant Godfrey Letsholo
From Glen Valley Barracks