DIS being used to settle political scores

Moeti Mohwasa
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
DIS being used to settle political scores

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has noted the recent arrest of former Head of DIS, Mr Isaac Kgosi. In the past there have been several allegations of corruption leveled against Mr Kgosi. His investigation, arrest and possible prosecution has been delayed under the watch of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government. As an organisation that is opposed to corruption, we welcome an investigation and an arrest of anyone suspected of involvement in such activities.

Justice and fair trial should be dispensed to all regardless of their position. We are however opposed to the Hollywood style arrest of suspects. Their right to dignity must be respected. This has always been our principled position and it will remain unchanged regardless of who the victim is. We also remain concerned about selective arrests.  This latest arrest definitely arises out of the Khama/Masisi feud. This is a feud that is slowly tearing not only the BDP apart, but the nation as well. State institutions have not been spared.

The latest incident goes to show how state institutions are used to settle political scores and are not independent. Though this culture of using state institutions to fight opponents is as old as the BDP, it deserves strong criticism as it is getting worse. It is doubtful if Kgosi would have been arrested if there hasnot been a fall out between Masisi and Khama. There should be consistency and swiftness in the dispensation and application of justice. It should not be used at the convenience of the dominant ruling elite. Party political battles should not influence when to strike. 

After silencing New Jerusalem faction, the Masisi regime will turn to the Unionists, independent media and opposition politicians. Other regimes that came before this one started off like this. As an organisation that believes in equality before the law, we do not understand how the Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi who also has had serious corruption allegations leveled against him remains untouched. Equally worrying is the constant cropping up of the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi’s name in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) looting. Up to now there has not been any reports of questioning of the President nor his Permanent Secretary by security agents. We call upon the relevant state security agencies to carry out more arrests within the government enclave. They should not look far beyond the entire cabinet. Let us see the trial of all corrupt elements in this government and their cronies. This will prove the state institutions independence and commitment to fighting corruption. Otherwise their actions will remain a ploy to whip their opponents into line or punish them.

At the inception of the DIS, we stated very clearly that this body under the current act couldn’t be controlled. What is important about state bodies is not necessarily who heads them but what measures have been put in place to make them accountable. Oversight over all state organs is important. Nearly twelve months after taking over from his bitter rival, Dr Ian Khama, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has not put forward plans to reform the DISS. He has not done a thing to amend the Media Practitioners Bill. The private media is still starved of Government advertising. Public Sector Unions are still having problems as the employer continues to undermine them. The list is endless. Yet the Masisi Regime wants to portray itself as bringing reforms!

The earlier the nation realises that the whole Masisi reform trajectory is a facade the better. What is happening currently is a fight over control of resources and rearrangement of human furniture. The regime is engaged in an effort to hoodwink the nation into believing that there is meaningful change. This is the reality; it is the same script but different actors. More funds will disappear under the current leaders at DISS. So there really hasn’t been any change! The only change will only come after the elections when the UDC takes over.  

[Moeti Mohwasa is the UDC Head of Communications]

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