The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources Conservation, Tshekedi Khama is said to be in a massive recruitment drive which is feared could cripple the notorious Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Military Intelligence.
Khama is said to be offering the officers of the two organisations lucrative offers to join his newly-established Tourism Intelligence. Botswana Guardian understands that the move by Minister Khama has annoyed the two organisations’ top brass particularly DISS boss, Isaac Kgosi. Khama and Kgosi are said to have turned into sworn enemies and no longer see eye to eye, sources say.
The Tourism Intelligence is under the Department of National Parks which is headed by former deputy commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo. The organisation is mandated to spearhead the fight against poaching which has been giving the Ministry sleepless nights as how to contain it and the recruitment of officers from MI is believed will help boost the unit because of their experience at the military as most of the poachers are suspected to be former military officers.
Minister Khama was quoted this year in newspaper reports saying this about his appoitnment of Brigadier Peter Magosi to his anti-poaching unit, “You know this is the thing that bothers me; the way he understands the military and anything involving military, he will be such an asset because that knowledge is within him.” Brigadier Magosi was forced into retirement by President Ian Khama. The minister is said to be building a team of trusted lieutenantnts as he has ambitions of becoming President something that has led to the fall out between him and Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
“I am currently on notice this month. Next month I will be joining Ministry of Tourism and the offer they have given me I could not refuse it,” said one DISS agent who refused to be named. A highly-placed army officer has confided that the recruitment of other security officers is too risky as it compromises the work of others.
“The problem with the security community is that there is a lot of politics going on right now. TK is doing this deliberately because he wants to lead like his brother. President Ian Khama has not said anything to TK because he has also lost trust in some of the guys in the security community. These guys will kill each because of power there is a lot of backstabbing going on at the moment,” said the source.
Efforts to contact Director General of DIS, Isaac Kgosi were futile as it was said he’d gone to Mozambique on an official assignment even though he had earlier requested to meet this reporter at his office. It is said that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks is building three anti-poaching camps in Kasane, Maun and Kang at a cost of P70 million each. The design for the camps which will have airbases has already been completed and the construction will start next year.
DWNP which already has five aircraft and 10 helicopters has started its own air arm and recruited 16 pilots from BDF. Minister Khama was quoted this week in government newspaper, Daily News saying this about hiring of anti-poaching officers, “The Public Service Act restricts the number of days that an employee can spend in the field while on a trip, if you deploy someone beyond that it becomes expensive as the individual will be entitled to several allowances on top of their pay.”
Efforts to contact Minister Khama were also futile as his mobile rang unanswered. Reached for comment BDF Director, Protocol and Public Affairs, Colonel Tebo Dikole said, “As espoused to numerous media houses in the past, the BDF is not experiencing any “mass exodus of officers as you aver, neither is the organisation experiencing any challenges regarding staff welfare.”