- Army okays Kgosi arrest within the military prison
- Ex-commander-Khama says detaining Kgosi at the military prisons was illegal
- Army detention facility was used for convenience and security issues- BDF
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) have defended themselves on the controversial detention of the former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi in the barracks following criticism from the former president and army commander, Ian Khama who has cited the use of the military prison for the purpose as a misuse and therefore illegal.
A military prison is a prisons operated by the military used variously to house prisoners of war, unlawful combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by the military or national authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime.
Military prisons are of two types: penal, for punishing and attempting to reform members of the military who have committed an offense, and confinement-oriented, where captured enemy combatants are confined for military reasons until hostilities cease.
Kgosi was arrested, in full public glare, on January 15th by the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Peter Magosi and his team of operatives on alleged tax concerns where he was taken to the military prison and detained for two days.
Khama, himself a former army commander expressed his utter shock and disappointment with the BDF saying the “use of the barracks to detain Kgosi was not only wrong but illegal.” He unfortunately would not elaborate of the statement at the time of going to press as his private secretary, Mabedi Letsholo had promised.
The BDF however have trashed Khama’s view in a response to this publication questions on the matter, justifying the detention by saying they were well within their mandate to detain Kgosi within barracks.
“The BDF is bound by the provision of section 32 of the BDF Act, 2018 to assist and cooperate with other authorities. Furthermore, section 9 of the BDF Act, 2018 compels the Defence Force to aid civil authorities in domestic support operations,” reads the BDF response from a director of protocol and public affairs official -Lieutenant colonel Fana Maswabi.
The military explained that: “In accordance with the provisions of the warrant of arrest, the detaining authorities have the right to deprive the liberty and freedom of a person being arrested. In this case the detaining authorities had sought the detention facilities at the BDF taking into consideration convenience and necessary security requirements. “Kgosi is a former army man who left the army at the rank of Colonel and has been with the national spy agency for almost a decade.
In a 2014 research paper titled ‘is the Botswana Defence Force poised to attain the level of military effectiveness espoused by its vision’, Colonel Sianang Mokuedi of the BDF recommended that a review is needed to inform the role the BDF in missions relative to other security organs within the country.
“A comprehensive security review is overdue for Botswana. Primarily, to inform the role and equipment of the BDF in the current security climate of southern Africa and its missions relative to other security organs within the country. As the Minister observed, this will effectively reduce the discrepancies, redundancies and deficiencies in our national security policy and security institutions will be appropriately resourced to deliver the capabilities required,” reads the paper.
Kgosi was arrested by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service in collaboration with other security state organs over tax issues, which to date have not been elaborated on by the state. His arrest brought jubilation to his detractors and critics and shock and anguish to his and Khama’s sympathisers. Khama is a known close associate of Kgosi and admits that he visited Kgosi to reassure him of his unwavering support during his trying times.