No End In Sight For “Dysfunctional” DISS Oversight

  • President unable to move forward
  • Opposition wants specific demands met


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has not moved an inch since opposition MPs nominated to provide oversight on the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) withdrew from the parliamentary select committee established for the purpose.

While the President has informed the opposition that the committee was last appointed in 2014 and that it has largely been dysfunctional because some of its members resigned, it appears that the there is no end in sight for the committee’s troubles that is now approaching a decade in existence.

The President’s efforts to revive the oversight committee have been met with demands from the opposition and the process stalled.

The Leader of the Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando, this week told this publication that he had not heard from the President since informing him of their reasons for not participating. “We have not heard anything from the President. He knows our position,” Saleshando said.

In declining participation, Saleshando says he asked President Masisi to “prioritise two issues of national concern relating to DISS, namely subjecting DISS to a forensic audit and reviewing the DISS Act to ensure that it complies with international best practice”.

The Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi, did not respond to a Botswana Gazette enquiry that sought to know what the way forward would be now that the opposition had withdrawn from the Committee.

The Intelligence and Security Service Act provides for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security. The committee is appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition.

The opposition is concerned that since its inception, DISS has been dogged by serious allegations of maladministration, corruption and of operating slush funds with the blessing of the Botswana Democratic Party government.