- Khama’s security officers to be equal to Mogae’s
- New DISS director says they are correcting some things
- BDF confirms withdrawing all army personnel from Mosu
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) have resolved to downsize the heavy security detail of former president Ian Khama, bringing it to the size of Festus Mogae’s detail which is said to be lean but adequate.
This was confirmed to The Botswana Gazette by the new DISS Director General Peter Magosi. “What I can say is that we have realised that the security detail of one former president is heavier than that of another former president and we are working on making things equal,” he said, declining to get into specifics.
While they did not share detailed specifics, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) also confirmed that they withdrew their personnel previously deployed to Mosu, including those overseeing the construction of an airstrip in the same residence. “Please be informed that all army personnel who were deployed at Mosu have long been withdrawn,” Major Fana Maswabi from BDF-Protocol and Public Affairs told this publication.
A sizeable number of security personnel were deployed to Khama’s controversial Mosu residence during his tenure while others accompanied him, performing duties which sources say were “unspecified”. The authority and responsibility of Khama’s security fell to his close ally and former DISS Director Isaac Kgosi who was mandated by the Intelligence and Security Act to provide it. According to The President’s Retirement Package passed in parliament in April 2017 however, it is President Masisi who will determine the size of Khama’s security personnel.
In hindsight, it is clear that Khama may not have been aware of Masisi’s views on the matter at the time he was was pushing for his controversial retirement package. “We have not been informed of anything relating to the downsizing of Khama’s security,” George Tlhalerwa, his Personal Secretary, told this publication when asked over what they know of the development.
The construction of Khama’s Mosu residence was mired in secrecy, with government previously attempting to deny that BDF officers were deployed there or that government resources were used. BDF Commander, Lt. General Gaolathe Galebotswe however later confirmed they constructed the former president’s air strip to “save the cost” of transporting him to and from the property and that the BDF was directly involved in the planning and construction of the airstrip in 2013, with combat engineers deployed to do the job.
In 2017, INK Center for Investigative Journalism and Sunday Standard conducted a Satellite Imaging through Swift Geospatial Solutions and found that Khama’s Mosu home was a large military installation much larger than previously stated by the Office of the President (OP).
“One of the plots is 15 hectares of military equipment: Earth moving machinery, water bowsers, large trucks, smaller utility trucks, a solar panel plant, a large generator and and three rectangular structures – which according to an architect contracted by INK resemble army barracks,” they revealed. OP had previously claimed that only a single bedroom cottage with a kitchen, a sitting room and 2-bedroom cottages and a single-room chalet constituted the property.