The Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi has hit back at his security nemesis at the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism over the anti-poaching issue. After constantly denying that there is a rift between his organisation and Department of wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Tourism Intelligence Services, Kgosi later opened up after Specially Elected Member of Parliament Mephato Reatile acting like a midwife broke the tension. In a veil attack to TIS – which was not established by the Act of Parliament – Kgosi informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that DISS is the only Intelligence Unit in Botswana and there is none besides it. “And I am the chairman of the National Intelligence Community and we know who its members are,” he said. Recently when appearing before PAC, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo said that they have eight aircrafts, one helicopter and eight specialised anti-poaching vehicles. Asked if it means they don’t need the assistance of other security agencies in combating as they seem to be well-equipped, he answered in the affirmative. Put to Kgosi by Reatile that DWNP said that they don’t no longer need their assistance in anti-poaching and should stop asking for supplementary funding reasoning that they are fighting poaching, Kgosi laughed off before answering. “It will never happen that one entity can succeed alone in fighting poaching and our mandate as DISS is to gather intelligence information,” he said, adding that it does not mean running around the country but even going beyond the borders of the country.
On the DWNP anti-poaching fleet, Kgosi said they are not in competition with anyone about equipment but will continue making anti-poaching their number one priority. “Our intelligence is not running around the country but going outside the country and recently a consignment of tusks was confiscated outside the country by our agents,” he hit out. Asked by PAC member Samson Moyo Guma why they don’t address press briefings with the ministry of tourism to dispel the allegations that there is bad blood between the two, Kgosi said the law does not allow them to communicate with the media. “I will call a press briefing and hope the concerned ministry officials will also be there,” he said, avoiding mentioning its name. He said there are those who rush to the papers to leak some information, but DISS won’t do that. Tourism minister Tshekedi Khama has complained about the delay in vetting tourists coming to Botswana, saying it is costing the country. The blame was put on the doorstep of DISS, with some MPs even calling for them to be removed from Visa issuance. “Our argument is that this policy must be reviewed forthwith. The DISS must be completely removed from dealing with issues of work and residence permits and Visa applications because they have become a very costly nuisance,” fumed the MP for Selibe-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse early this year. Kgosi said that they don’t delay Visa processing, saying the vetting takes only four days from their side before giving the concerned department feedback. “In the past piles of files were found in one office while they claimed that it was us who were delaying and they were embarrassed,” he said, appealing to government officials to stop hiding behind DISS for their sloppy job.