• As he cuts the Tshekedi, Magosi axis
• Tshekedi hired Magosi to set up tourism intelligence
• DIS appointment to collapse Tshekedi's spy unit
• 'We have to respect his recruitment by bagolo' – Tshekedi
The appointment of former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Ground Forces Commander Brigadier Peter Magosi as Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has caught his long-time ally Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama off guard.
Source say Tshekedi Khama is worried that the appointment of Magosi as spy chief will compromise Tourism Intelligence Services as the latter was instrumental in setting it up and recruiting capable personnel to the unit. “TK is the mostly affected person by the appointment of Magosi as spy chief as it means President Masisi has now cut his wings and compromised his intelligence,” said a source close to the developments at the Office of the President.
The roping in of Magosi by President Masisi is said to have been a well calculated move to collapse Khama’s intelligence unit which was giving DIS sleepless nights. The tension between Tshekedi and deposed DIS boss Isaac Kgosi began when the minister revived and capacitated the Tourism Intelligence Services (TIS) by recruiting spy agents from DIS and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Military Intelligence.
Tshekedi Khama started by recruiting former Deputy Commander of BDF Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo and later appointing him Director of Wildlife and National Parks in 2015. In military ranking, Tiroyamodimo remains senior to former DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi. The formation and subsequent procurement by TIS of what is believed to constitute weapons of war caused uneasiness and discomfort among the BDF and DIS top brass. They complained that employees of Wildlife and National Parks were not qualified in law to carry such ammunition.
There were also fears among senior state security agents, particularly at BDF barracks and DIS, that TIS was used to recruit disgruntled members of Special Forces. This concern was aggravated by Tshekedi Khama's decision to recruit Magosi as Deputy Director of DWNP soon after the latter was forced to resign from the BDF.
TIS became prominent after the fallout between Tshekedi Khama and Kgosi which degenerated into a public spat.
When DIS requested supplementary budget from Parliament, Tshekedi Khama publicly rejected the proposal, saying Government must get its priorities right. “I am surprised that for the DIS, P15 million can be authorised to fix the computers. What are we saying to Batswana? Are we telling them that we cannot compensate them for the damages caused by wildlife or when they have lost a family member yet we can afford to fix computers for that much?” Tshekedi Khama retorted in Parliament then.
The tension escalated when DIS operatives were arrested by DWNP intelligence agents in possession of ivory that was suspected to be on its way to be smuggled out of the country. DIS operatives were arrested in the operation and found carrying a huge sports bag containing two sliced elephant tusks allegedly asked to be allowed to phone Kgosi, but were denied contact with their boss. They were handed over to police officers.
Tshekedi Khama would later boast that the wildlife intelligence unit is the best in the country as they have managed to thwart poaching. He even told the Public Accounts Committee that they do not need both the DIS and BDF Anti-Poaching Units as they are well equipped and brilliant when it comes to intelligence. Tshekedi Khama's confidence was boosted by the knowledge that TIS had crème de la crème of senior intelligence agents in the mould of Brigadier Magosi and Major General Tiroyamodimo.
Both army men were shown the door by former President Ian Khama before they were given a lifeline Tshekedi Khama. “We have our own intelligence unit. It is the best so far compared to others which deal with multiple issues while ours deals with wildlife intelligence,” he said. Kgosi dismissed suggestions by Tshekedi Khama.
Tshekedi Khama told The Patriot on Sunday this week that although Magosi is his friend he didn’t inform him on his decision to join DIS. “Sometimes if you are friends and bagolo ask you to keep a secret one has to respect that order. Yes, he did not inform me and I have no issues with it,” said Tshekedi.
He said he respects the decision of Office of the President and is looking forward to work with Magosi in combating poaching and other threats to the flora and fauna of the country. On whether he has met his friend since he became DISS DG, Khama answered in affirmative but said it was not on official business.