DisS descends into political arena – Gazette response

  • DCEC distances itself from DIS shenanigans
  • DIS accuses Gazette of de-campaigning Masisi
  • DCEC says they were not party to the ill-advised rebuttal


The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Public relations Unit has distanced itself from purported joint rebuttal issued on behalf of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) which accused the Botswana Gazette of: “engaging in a smear campaign” against Vice-President Mokgweetsi Masisi; colluding with “some irresponsible and ill-motivated elements” and in spite of the numerous allegations of corruption against the DISS and its Director that “there has never been any evidence proffered to substaintiate (sic) the claims”.
While it is not customary for a media house to descend to the levels of commenting on State sponsored propaganda the unwarranted attack on this publication and the media in general, calls for an exposure of the falsity of the DIS assertions in their statement of….
The so called DISS “rebuttal” was directed at a story carried by this publication last week titled “DCEC foils Masisi, DISS black operation against Butale.” The article is well supported by sourced information. Assistant Minister Biggie Butale, the subject matter of the foiled and fabricated plot confirmed to The Botswana Gazette that it was indeed correct that he was an intended victim of plot that sought to have him unlawfully arrested and negatively impact on his reputation and good standing in the eyes of the public. The plot was foiled by the diligence of the DCEC investigators when they raised concerns that the photos supposedly depicting Butale was in fact a person trying to impersonate him. Butale has further indicated that he was not willing to point fingers yet, as he intends to report the matter to the President directly.
Following the articles publication, the DISS attempted to rebut the story and in particular their interpretation of narration that the spy agency is heavily politicised. Additionally the DISS erred in seeking to speak for the DCEC for which it has no mandate to do so. The crossing of the legal mandates by the DISS is evident at the end of the rebuttal where the DCEC is mysteriously implicated and represented in a rebuttal belonging to the DISS.
“The DCEC also wishes to state that the article is not only false, malicious but misleading. Such allegations will however not deter the DCEC from carrying out its duty of fighting corruption.” reads the DIS rebuttal.
It is not clear on what authority the DIS purports to speak for the DCEC. The DCEC does not engage in the practice of responding to newspaper articles, but features prominently in the DIS rebuttal. A highly placed source said the DCEC does not know anything about the DISS rebuttal published in the government face-book page titled “DISS response to Article appearing in today’s Gazette newspaper” but have shied away from challenging the issue.
Speaking to the Botswana Gazette this week, the DCEC spokesperson, Phakamile Kraai said they were not party to the DISS rebuttal in which they are cited as having said “the report is false, malicious and misleading and that such allegations will not deter the DCEC from carrying out its duty of fighting corruption”.
The DCEC confirmed the details of The Botswana Gazette article, stating that “If I recall well we stated our position in the story. We do not know anything about the rebuttal,” Kraai said to The Botswana Gazette in a brief interview. The DCEC in response to questions by this publication on the original article said impersonation does not fall under their mandate. Asked to clarify from which office the rebuttal came from, the Government Spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay said “the response I am aware of came from the DISS” and when reminded that the rebuttal spoke on behalf of both the DCEC and Masisi, Ramsay reiterated that the rebuttal originated solely from the DISS.
The article under attack by the DISS, as revealed by our investigations, points to a politically-motivated conflict between Masisi and Molefi campaign factions within the Botswana Democratic Party. The DISS in its attempted rebuttal, ignored Butale’s confirmations of a “black op” against him though it is quick to say the article is a smear campaign against Masisi’s chances. The DISS offers no information to support its contentions.
“These are outrageous allegations which render this article a patently false report spread with ulterior motives. It is quite clear from a reading of this article that the writer and some irresponsible and ill-motivated elements, are on a smear campaign against the Vice President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi” states the purported rebuttal. The Botswana Gazette, stands by the article and its journalist and notes the use of language by the DISS, on what has become increasingly common vitriol against the media by the embattled institution.
In a brief interview with this publication on the DISS purported rebuttal, Butale would only say “Yes, I saw the rebuttal and I have got no further comment”.
The Gazette article does not correctly depict the conduct existing within the Directorate, according to the DISS’s purported rebuttal, adding that the story was intended to incite the public against the organization and its employees. Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee, in early June, Kgosi confirmed that his organisation had “rogue units” that leaked information to the media especially on retirement. He went on to condemn the conduct of the rogue units for portraying both himself and his organisation in an unfavourable light with the media. The attacks by Kgosi on the media are a matter of public record. Kgosi has personally instituted of proceedings against the Sunday Standard for defamation after the media house published contents of the DCEC investigations into his conduct. When stories about his alleged corruption scandals were first published in 2013, Kgosi threatened Lawrence Seretse, then reporting for Mmegi, by saying that he would have blood spilled all over him (Ao batla go tshelegelwa ke madi a kgofa?) when he quizzed him about his financial dealings at Debswana.
Incidentally rebuttals by the DISS have typically been bare denials and not provided clarifications or explanations into the allegations made against them.
The DISS is governed by the Intelligence and Security Service Act, 2007, which as correctly pointed out by the purported rebuttal clearly provides, “no act shall be performed that could give rise to any reasonable suspicion that the Directorate is concerned in furthering, protecting or undermining the interests of any particular section of the population or of any political party or other organization in Botswana”, what is questionable therefore, is why the DISS comes to the defence of Masisi in the rebuttal without reference to Butale and his version of events. In taking to the defence of Masisi the DISS has clearly and unequivocally stepped into the political arena, contrary to its legislative provisions.
The DISS said Batswana should  rest assured that they remain resolutely focussed on its mandate of safeguarding Botswana and all its people from threats to our national security and interests, working with other security and law enforcement organs. In 2012 Kgosi disclosed that a core function of the DISS was to investigate “Satanism” within Botswana, while the murder and attempted murder of the Kalafatis brothers remains unsolved amid allegations of DISS involvement in both.
There is a recognised diagnosis by psychologists that narcissistic personality disorders fail to see the wrong in themselves and attribute all their ills to others. Government, has taken on this personality trait. The constant barrage of rebuttals of media stories has reached new highs. Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs has withdrawn their rebuttal published on the Daily News in which they were accusing the The Botswana Gazette of misrepresenting facts in a story titled “Keorapetse grills Ministry on visa restrictions”.
The “rebuttal withdrawal” published in the Daily News (June 19, 2017) reads “ the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs hereby withdraws its rebuttal statement of the June 14, 2017 regarding an article published in the Botswana Gazette of the June 14-20,2017 titled ,” Keorapetse grills ministry on visa restrictions”.