DISS ambushes Jagdish Shah over alleged BDP treasurer challenge
- Spy agency worried over which faction Jagdish belongs to
- DISS also wants a declaration that Jagdish won’t challenge current BDP treasurer Satar Dada
- Jagdish says he is worried by DISS threats but not moved
The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) has allegedly expressed deep anxiety with the political ambitions of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Deputy Treasurer and businessman, Jagdish Shah, and called him to explain whether or not he will be contesting in the party’s July elective congress and the position he will be standing for.
Jagdish Shah has confirmed meeting the DISS in an exclusive interview with The Botswana Gazette in Phakalane, Sunday afternoon, in what he described as a very strange meeting. “Where did you get that, yes, it is true I met some guy from the DISS in one of my offices in Gaborone who wanted to know about my political interests,” he said upon being confronted with the information.
The DISS in so doing has acted in direct contravention of the Intelligence and Security Services Act which prohibits them from getting involved in national politics. In fact, this move comes in the wake of emerging talk allegedly from the Nonofo Molefhi campaign that current party treasurer, Satar Dada, should retire as he has done his part for the party.
A senior operative at the heavily politicised intelligence organ informed this publication that the ‘elusive and cagey’ Jagdish has been one of the DISS chief’s main worries as he appears not to be loyal to President Ian Khama and the faction of Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The source revealed that in one of their strategic meetings regarding the upcoming elective congress, a very detailed master plan was hatched to dissuade Shah from running for the position of treasurer: “He was met recently and we are informed all is well,” the senior operative said without divulging more.
Asked to describe the man who visited him, Shah only revealed that, “The agent was a well dressed middle aged man whose further particulars I cannot reveal to the media.”
The BDP deputy treasurer further revealed that he was asked political questions throughout the interrogation, “It was all political questions about whether I will be contesting and for which position amongst many others,” he continued. Asked whether he did not see anything wrong with being asked questions about party politics by DISS, Shah said he got confused but kept his cool because just like journalists, spy agents can ask anything to unmask an issue.
He, however, admitted to being perplexed by the nature of the questions asked, “I do not know why and how but it was all confusing but I gave him the truth,” he said. The spy agency has been accused of meddling in politics in support of Khama who declared his backing for Masisi at the just ended BDP national congress.
Contacted for comment, Dada blasted the DISS for its alleged interference, “If those reports are true, why would the DISS get involved in BDP matters”, he said before informing this publication that Shah had not yet told him about the issue.
Jagdish says he is not aligned to any faction and has assured the party treasurer Dada that instead of challenging him he will just defend his position as his deputy.
Insiders within the DISS say the confusion with Shah is that he was recruited into the BDP by a minister (name withheld), who is also the coordinator of the Nonofo Molefhi camp. Other concerns, sources say, emanate from the fact that Shah was allegedly seen in a lobby list belonging to Jacob Nkate and Robert Masitara whose campaign agenda is understood to centre around fighting corruption by ruling elites within the ruling party.
Shah admits to being recruited by a certain minister but says he knows nothing about lobby lists. “Of course I was recruited into the BDP by the minister and some other guy whose name I am struggling to recall but I was recruited to serve the party and no one else and secondly I do not know anything about the Nkate-Masitara lobby list. I am not in any faction, in fact I hate factions and prefer compromise,” he said.
Asked whether it is true that he harbours intentions of challenging Dada, Shah said democrats have been asking him to, “But I do not think it is a good idea, while he is not the party and some issues have been raised about his age, I think he has served the party well.”
Shah had initially wanted to contest for party treasury but abandoned his aspirations when Dada who had announced his retirement recanted allegedly to save his preferred candidate, Masisi. “Of course, I have ambitions to be the party treasurer one day but not when Dada is around, others can challenge him but not me,” he said. Asked why he cannot challenge him, he said “I do not want to raise any disputes, that was not my intention when I joined the party,” he responded.
On whether he will pursue the DISS interrogation saga further, Shah said “If need be yes I will but for now I am not moved or threatened”.
The spy agency has been dragged into BDP internal factions and wars of late. Recently in parliament when its P15 million supplementary budget was discussed, leader of opposition, Duma Boko and other opposition MPs suggested that DISS wanted to frustrate Molefhi and elevate Khama’s preferred candidate, Masisi.
Boko further remarked that Molefhi whose house is situated across DISS offices at the parliamentary village was under surveillance. MP Dithapelo Keorapetse said that he too was suspicious that the DISS was intending to channel the money into Masisi’s campaign. Keorapetse further told the Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgati that the DIS had taken sides in the BDP internal feuds.
Molefhi’s defiant camp recently sent Masisi’s heavily resourced camp into panic at the party’s national congress what marked a sure continuation of the BDP’s age old factionalism. Efforts to get comment from the Director General of the DISS Isaac Kgosi’ were futile by time of press as his phone rang unanswered all day.