BPF says it will mobilize against harassment of its patron
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) condemns renewed attacks against former president Ian Khama and intelligence chief Isaac Kgosi by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) because the party upholds the rule of law and stands against injustice, the Secretary General of the AP, Phenyo Butale, has said.
“We have seen countless searches at Kgosi’s residence that yielded nothing,” Butale said in a phone interview. “It is therefore becoming very clear that this is a political witch hunt by institutions of the state. When this happens, you need to get worried as a nation.”
This comes after DISS obtained search warrants from the Gaborone High Court to ransack residential houses belonging to the two.
“Before the general elections (in 2019) opposition leaders were harassed because they were said to have wronged the law in some way,” he said. “After elections, nothing of the sort is happening, which shows that they were pulling a political stunt at the time.”
He added that his party will decide on the way forward regarding the matter soon because there is a need to ensure independence of oversight institutions so that they steer clear of political interference.
“If these investigating institutions were independent, it would have been easy to tell whether the two men have a case to answer” Butale asserted. “The AP is for strong institutions, not strong men. That is why we have said time and again that these institutions should be removed from the Office of the President because he can do whatever he wants with them for as long as they remain there.”
Similarly, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) has expressed concern over what they say is “harassment” of former president Ian Khama whose house at Mosu in the Boteti sub-district is reportedly under surveillance by DISS. Khama is the patron of the BPF.
In an interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, the Publicity Secretary of BPF, Lawrence Ookeditse, said both DISS and BURS had unleashed squads to raid Khama’s house.
“While we believe in the rule of law and that all citizens must be subjected to the same laws, this does not include blatant manipulation and malicious use of power to intimidate political opponents,” Ookeditse said. “As a party, we will not support any criminal or unlawful behaviour by our leaders but we will not allow their malicious harassment either.”
He accused the Masisi administration of working day and night to eliminate political opponents, warning that this would not end with Khama. “It is common knowledge that Khama owns a number of duly licensed firearms,” he said. “These are guns that were given to him by state authorities themselves or procured legally. All these guns have had their licence renewals done in accordance with the laws of our country.”.
He also accused DISS and President Masisi of planning to take Khama’s guns and to render his bodyguards weak. “It is a strategy calculated to at once strip him of his layers of protection and to paint him as a warlord about to start chaos in Botswana,” Ookeditse said. “This is another low in the campaign of lies and deceit.”
“We want to make it clear that the BPF will not take any malicious arrest of SKI (Khama), or any other human being in this country, lying down. Over the next couple of days, we will be mobilising our members and friends locally and globally to stand ready to defend a citizen who is being maliciously persecuted.”