Botswana caught in intelligence wars

SHARE   |   Monday, 09 May 2016   |   By Staff Writer
Lt.Gen Gaolathe [L] with DISS Director General Issac Kgosi Lt.Gen Gaolathe [L] with DISS Director General Issac Kgosi

A security storm is brewing between Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) Military Intelligence, Directorate of Intelligence Services (DISS) and the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism due to the recent appointment of Peter Magosi as the deputy director in the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, heading the Anti-Poaching unit. His appointment is said to have caused uneasiness at Seretse Khama Barracks and Directorate of Intelligence Services especially at the Military Intelligence where he used to be the commander. Magosi was fired early this year at BDF by President Ian Khama and Minister of Environment, Tourism and Wildlife Tshekedi Khama didn’t waste time in hiring him.

In an interview early this year about his intention to recruit Magosi, Tshekedi Khama revealed that one of the reasons he wanted him was because of his deep understanding of the military, insisting that he will be an assets to his ministry. To compound the problem for the two security organs chiefs, Isaac Kgosi (DISS) and Colonel Cullen Nkete (MI) they have to sit in anti-poaching briefings chaired by Magosi. The cracks in the relationship between Magosi and DISS and BDF top brass was exposed in 2014 when they reported him to Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) over the disappearance of the spy equipment – Global System for Mobile Communications Jammers and Cellbrites. The case was later dropped under controversial circumstances. The enlisting of Magosi in the Department of wildlife and Environment has united him with his former boss, former deputy commander of the BDF Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo where he will be his deputy.

Tiroyamodimo was appointed the Director of Wildlife and National Parks in 2015, three years after he was fired by President Ian Khama as the deputy commander of BDF due to the drunken driving case which he later appealed and won. Strangely it was Tiroyamodimo who in 1992 was called to intervene when the relationship between Magosi and current BDF commander Lieutenant General Gaolathe Galebotswe reached a boiling point.  Tiroyamodimo, who by then was colonel, recommended the transfer of Magosi to 41 Infantry Battalion in Selebi Phikwe where he stayed until he was moved to a Presidential Guard Unit in Mogoditshane, made up largely of paratroopers. Highly placed sources within the intelligence community have revealed that both MI and DISS are running helter skater to try and contain an emerging monster at the Department of Wildlife and Environment.

There is fear among the two organs that Magosi and Tiroyamodimo might use their newly found unit to revenge on those who destroyed their military career. Information gathered by this publication has revealed that Magosi is now recruiting some of the former MI agents to join his department, especially for the covertly unit Tourism Intelligence Services. “To form an intelligence you just need less than ten people and there is a worry in the army that both Magosi and Tiroyamodimo will be spying on us especially the high command,” said the source within the military intelligence. The problem is compounded by the fact that both Tiroyamodimo and Magosi are well trained Special Forces officers and have both headed the Special Forces unit. Tiroyamodimo did his training at the Indian Army Infantry School where he did Weapons, Tactical and Commando training.