MISA Botswana welcomes the decision by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to sack the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Col. Isaac Kgosi this week. We hail the President’s decision as the first bold step towards restoring good governance and law and order in Botswana.
Two of the world’s most reputable intelligence organizations – the CIA and Mossad – are subject to the authority of their governments, even with their notorious reputation as laws unto themselves. The role of these organisations is to prevent external threats, whereas under Kgosi the DISS was focused on terrorizing citizens and questionable transactions that often reflected unprecedented wastage of public funds and resources.
Under Kgosi, speech was frozen in the throats of citizens who feared surveillance and persecution. Media freedom and freedom of expression were suppressed like never before. Journalists of good merit always knew that their phones were tapped. When aiding visiting journalists, local scribes always knew that they were being closely watched. There have been cases where even visiting journalists had their hotel rooms broken into, ransacked and their entire work stolen.
MISA Botswana also knows that even government officials, ministers and other high ranking officials did not escape the methods of Kgosi’s DISS which conducted itself like J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.
These incidents are hallmarks of Isaac Kgosi’s DISS legacy. Kgosi’s total disregard for accountability showed itself when he appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently where he repeatedly stated that he was accountable to no one, not even to the President.
Opposition parties and other civic organizations have repeatedly questioned the DISS mandate and the Act that founded it, highlighting its irrelevance to the core mandate of government. We call on the Attorney General to revisit the Act and advise Parliament accordingly.
We also call on President Masisi to scrutinize the role of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), especially their failure to prosecute the most obvious cases of corruption and extra judicial killings linked to the DISS and other law enforcement bodies that had developed impunity under former President Ian Khama. What this means is that many cold cases will have to be revisited with key individuals, past and present, at thesea organizations being investigated and prosecuted.
MISA-Botswana will continue to support the efforts of President Masisi as long as he works to restore the rule of law, transparency and accountability.