Says Masisi is unreasonable, irrational and acted unlawfully
Gives Masisi 30 days to respond or else goes to court
Masisi's grounds: Kgosi retires in December 2018
The fallout between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor former President Ian Khama degenerated on Friday when the latter served him with statutory notice, in the first litmus test to powers and authority of the incumbent.
In the papers which were delivered to the Attorney General’s Chambers on Friday, Khama, through his lawyers Toteng and Company, states that he is entitled to the services of a Private Secretary of his own choice and selection as the relevant law provides.
Khama is demanding that President Masisi should accept former Director of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi as his chosen Private Secretary. According to Khama, President Masisi told him that the reason he cannot appoint Kgosi is because he will retire in December 2018.
“His Excellency, President Masisi’s decision to refuse the appointment is therefore, unreasonable, irrational and unlawful and liable to be reviewed and set aside, if challenged before the courts,” reads Khama’s notice.
Khama demands that the decision to reject the appointment of Colonel Kgosi as his Private Secretary be vacated and that he be duly appointed into the position with immediate effect, “or within such time as is reasonably and practicable, taking into account the grave inconvenience the claimant suffers from the failure to fill the vacancy.”
Khama has given Masisi 30 days to meet the demands from the date of service of the notice and if they are not met they will institute review proceedings and seek, inter alia, an order declaring that President Masisi’s decision is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful and be set aside.
It appears Khama does not see his intentions as an exercise in futility since President Masisi enjoys immunity from legal challenges for decisions he has taken while in the office of head of state as part of his work. Over the years Khama has benefited handsomely from presidential immunity provision with many cases against him falling by the way side on the same ground. One such case was when the late Gomolemo Motswaledi took Khama to court to challenge him for his decision to suspend him from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP); the outcome of which forced Motswaledi to bolt out of the party to form Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Although this was a purely partisan matter, that had nothing to do with state presidency, Khama deafeated Motswaledi on the presidential immunity clause as he was head of state 24 hours a day. It was impossible to separate decisions he made in his personal capacity and those he made as head of state.
Khama has stated that upon the retirement of Brigadier George Tlhalerwa he informed Masisi and that he has identified Colonel Kgosi as a fitting candidate for the vacant position and submitted his curriculum vitae.
Served with distinction
In motivating his reasons for the appointment of the former spy chief, Khama said Kgosi who is his close associate had served the government of Botswana with distinction in a career spanning over forty years. “That Col. Isaac Seabelo Kgosi had recently served in the eminent position of Director General of the DISS with distinction,” he said in his letter, adding that he was retired upon the assumption of office by President Masisi.
He said the retirement of Kgosi was not based on any fault, failure or impropriety as such could never amount to a disqualification from serving in any capacity for which he qualifies in the public service. In May this year, President Masisi shocked many when he fired Kgosi as Director General of DISS replacing him with Brigadier Peter Magosi who was retired by Khama as commander of Ground Forces at Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
Khama, who is very close to Kgosi, publicly expressed his shock and unhappiness; saying that the firing of his close ally was undignified. Through his lawyers, Khama states that Kgosi has served as his private secretary when he was the Vice President of Botswana. “The rapport and understanding that subsists between the claimant and Col Kgosi would enable the smooth filling of the vacant position with a person most eminently qualified and, most importantly, the claimant’s own choice and preference, as envisioned by the law, with regard to the nature of this position,” reads the statutory notice.
To Khama’s dismay, President Masisi verbally advised him that his choice has been declined, which forced Khama to write a letter maintaining his choice and motivating his reasons for it. He maintained there was no valid, lawful and rational basis for rejection of his recommendation to appoint Kgosi as his private secretary.
The relationship been Khama and Kgosi dates back to their time at the barracks where he served as Head of Intelligence and when he joined politics, he brought him along and appointed him his private secretary. Kgosi was sent for further studies in United States of America as way of preparing him to establish the DISS.