In the strongest statement ever on the potentially dangerous cat-and-mouse game between former president Ian Khama and his ‘enforcer’ Isaac Kgosi on one side and DISS on the other, Botswana’s powerful labour centre BOFEPUSU says the conduct of the secret service must stop because it could plunge the country into civil war
The Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) must be reigned in if Botswana’s slide into chaos and civil war should be avoided, the Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has warned.
In a statement released this week, the powerful labour centre says alleged harassment of former president Ian Khama and former head of the secret service Isaac Kgosi must also stop before national security is compromised.
Signed by its president, Johannes Tshukudu, the BOFEPUSU statement describes the situation as “complex” because the parties involved are not telling the nation exactly what the issue is. Nevertheless, says the statement, the law must prevail over the interests of an individual.
If Khama and Kgosi have violated the law of the land, appropriate action should be taken for them to be brought to justice. “If it’s true that they suspect that there is an unlawful activity taking place either at Kgosi’s place or at Khama’s place, the duty of the DIS is now to provide information to the Botswana Police Service so that the latter can do the search because it is not the duty of the spy agency to search but rather to alert the police,” says the labour centre.
“All that is happening now is a circus because we have not heard anywhere where (a) spy agency does investigations.”
The BOFEPUSU statement calls on other organizations to speak out against the conduct of DIS, adding that the recent “outburst” by Specially Elected MP Dr Unity Dow about DIS is something that should have long been done. It says since the inception of DIS in 2008, the general public has never known rest, with the secret service routinely intercepting people’s telephone calls.
“It is true that the DIS seems to be bullying almost every government department and that cannot be allowed to happen and that must not be tolerated (because) they are not above the constitution and they are not above the law,” it notes.
“We are waiting to see what the entire Parliament will do and what the State President will do because in Unity Dow’s presentation, she has recommended a commission of enquiry into the duties of the DIS.”
BOFEPUSU expresses fear that the bad behaviour of DISS could push Botswana along the path of corrupt African countries and Batswana could lose the “peace and tranquility that we have been enjoying over 55 years”.
Assuming a grave tone, the statement says if DISS is not reigned in, Botswana could “see the first-ever civil war since independence” breaking out. Restraining DISS must therefore “be of concern to every citizen”.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Director of DISS, Edward Robert, recently denied allegations that the secret service was harassing Khama and seeking to harm the former president.
On the contrary, Robert said, Botswana’s presidents and former presidents are accorded protection and security in accordance with the Intelligence and Security Service Act.