As the tenure of the Commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lieutenant General Gaolatlhe Galebotswe comes to an end in July this year, speculation over his possible successor is rife. This week President Ian Khama added to more anticipation when he released a new list of army promotions with Brigadier Mpho Orebotse Churchill Mophuting’s elevation to Major General being the highlight. Six colonels were promoted to the rank of Brigadier while seven Lieutenant Colonels and eleven Majors promoted to the ranks of colonel and Lieutenant Colonel respectively. Khama – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces – is yet to name Galebotswe’s successor but observers say there is more to read from recent promotions. One of the Major Generals is expected to be elevated to the army’s commander soon.
Major General Molefhi Seikano – the commander of the Ground Forces Command – a veteran of the Army’s elite Special Forces together with Major General Gotsileene Morake, the current Director for Support Services. Though sources are adamant that the Deputy Commander Major General Placid Segokgo will soon retire from the army, the army hierarchy has disputed this. But the promotion of Mophuting to the top leadership has fuelled speculation that Segokgo is on his way out. Seikano comes out as a frontrunner for the commander’s position. Just like Galebotswe, Maj. General Seikano trained under Special Forces and both were trained by British Special Air Services (SAS). He has commanded the 2nd Infantry Brigade in the North, Seikano and was promoted to the rank of Major General last year by President Ian Khama and immediately took over as the commander of the ground forces from Major General Morake. Within the army circle, Seikano is regarded as a humble army officer and down to earth yet very shrewd and strategic. Close allies of Seikano have described him as a soldier both in heart and spirit who believes in physical fitness of soldiers. The soft spoken officer is widely known for his candour and, by all accounts, inspires deep loyalty among his subordinates, revealed another soldier.
One of the army officers, who worked under Seikano at Francistown, regards him as the epitome of what every young commando officer aspired to be. Drastic changes are not expected in the army should he take over as him and Galebotswe believes in the same philosophy. Seikano would be the third former Special Forces officer in a row to head up BDF; a career black Beret has never held the post before except Galebotswe. Major General Gotsileene Morake is another strong candidate. The son of former cabinet minister Kebatlamang Morake, he is regarded as liberal army officer. Major General Morake is the founding Director of Defence Command and Staff College (DCSC) as well as former Chairman of the African Conference of Commandants of Staff Colleges.