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Security chiefs concerned

SHARE   |   Friday, 22 June 2018   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Morake and Masisi Morake and Masisi

 Advise Masisi on sensitivity of national security

'Close leaks on sensitive national security information'

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Warn against causing divisions within the army 

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 Worried about reports on weapons of war at Mosu, DWNP

Security chiefs from Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service (BPS), Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) are said to have advised President Mokgweetsi Masisi to tread carefully with management of sensitive security information to avoid leakages to the media.

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The meeting is alleged to have taken place three weeks ago. Some of the leaked information, which has unsettled the security chiefs, is the removal of weapons of war from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) armoury and at former President Ian Khama’s compound in Mosu.

At his maiden media briefing, Masisi recently laughed off the stories in the press, dismissing them as the creativity and sensationalism of journalists. "As a free country, we will however let them (journalists) report whatever they want. The stories are simply not true. You have made that small dusty village in the north, whose name starts with initials the same as my first name, very popular," chuckled Masisi, brushing the issue aside.

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But the security chiefs are allegedly not amused. One issue that is said to have dominated the meeting was the controversial dismissal of DISS founding Director General Isaac Kgosi, which the security chiefs complained was undignified, considering the sensitivity of the strategic office. “It was against protocol for Masisi to send Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) to deliver the dismissal letter to Kgosi. Rather, it was supposed to have been done by the President himself because the DISS Director General reports directly to him. We might have differed with Kgosi on how he was doing things but his office must be respected,” one source said.

BDF Deputy Commander Major General Gotsileone Morake is alleged to have asked Masisi if it was true that he would soon be retired from his duties in the army. In return Masisi is said to have laughed off the suggestion without giving an explicit answer, which prompted the security chiefs to caution him to avoid being used by external influences to settle military internal differences. In a brief interview last week Major General Morake refused to comment on whether he has met Masisi regarding his alleged retirement. “I am not going to discuss those issues,” he said.

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The BDF has also issued a statement denying any plans within the army barracks or from the office of the Commander in Chief of the BDF (Masisi) to retire Major General Morake from his duties. Notwithstanding the denials, sources within the BDF insist that the letter had already been drafted, with the MI Head Colonel Cullen Nkete included for retirement, before the story was leaked and published prematurely in the press.

Nkete took over from the current DISS Director General retired Brigadier Peter Magosi as head of MI, following a protracted controversy over abuse of spy agents and missing intelligence equipment. At some point Magosi refused to hand over some military intelligence agents to his successor, complaining that they are often compromised in their line of duty by their bosses.

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A former army General, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, has confided that President Masisi should allow Major General Morake to succeed the current Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo to avoid dividing the army and creating wrong impressions that he is taking sides. “Morake is a capable leader and academically gifted. There is no doubt he can become a good Commander as he has proved himself in past.  Remember that he is the first officer to be instructor of the commanding cadet course which was established in Paje in 1990. He went on to become the Commandant at the opening of the Command and Staff College,” said the former army General, adding that the new BDF Act which has extended the retirement age to 60 favours Morake    



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