Less than a year in the hot seat, Brigadier Peter Magosi has hit the ground running, trimming excess baggage and transforming the DIS into a well oiled and effective machine. Magosi has saved government millions by advocating for the law enforcement units to work in tandem rather than duplicating duties.
He has also advocated for the auditing of the organ, amendment of the DIS Act and staff promotions which have not happened in the last five years. In his maiden interview with this publication, Magosi stated that he wants his organisation to be transparent. Asked this week how much progress has been made Magosi said his 32 years of service in the army has helped him to manage the transition. “During that time I learnt firstly that government was overspending unnecessarily, secondly the service delivery was very slow because neither hand knew what the other was doing.
Thirdly there was no interpersonal relationship between the leaders in different places and, or organs”. He then met the leadership of secutity stakeholders and together came up with a more close working relationship and more effective and or improved coordination. “Today there is no security organ which claims to be bigger than the other. We are all equals and our job is to serve the nation.
“I felt that we needed to break the existing silos and I believe we have successfully done that as a result today for the first time we are able to see all the security elements within the country working much closely together without anyone of them claiming the big brother mentality and wanting to perform certain duties over others”.
On transparency Magosi has insisted that the DIS must have respect, discipline and interpersonal relationship and support among the people within the organisation. “I believe that these have been achieved, but we can never say it is enough as there is room for improvement. I must point out that we still have weaknesses here and there, but I believe they are manageable and we can move forward”. DIS has also embarked on the amendment or revision of the Act after picking that there are issues that don’t sit well with the public and politicians.
One of the clauses Magosi singled out in the Act is the DIS Oversight Committee. “We must make sure that this committee plays its role undisturbed. Currently my team is working on the Act as I want to make sure the oversight execute its mandate on us”.
DIS has also come up with an audit which was amongst the most controversial issues with the public.
“I have personally approached the Auditor General and asked them to come and audit us. They have since done that, but have not completed the audit as certain things still needed clarity from us. “I am trying to get accountability of certain things as it is not easy to release them quickly in terms of getting credibility on them. “But it is not unusual in that area as it can take some time to clarify issues because as long as we did not do the handover which is protracted, there will be these kinds of gaps and we will keep on going back and forth to try and get things in line”.
Magosi is also pushing government to enable him to promote members of the organisation in order to reward the good job that they are doing. The organisation has never had any promotions in the past five years. “I feel this will bring some kind of incentive to the people,” he said. Top of Magosi’s welfare conditions for staff is to improve accommodation both residential and offices. “We have spent a substantial amount of money in rehabilitation of houses. We cannot do everything at a go, but we have done some that indicate we are moving somewhere”. As for challenges, Magosi is held back by lack of finances. He wants to do lots of training in order to build different capabilities that will match the current national security calls.
With 32 years of anti-poaching service, Magosi feels he is at home in this field and is not so bothered by incidents of elephants and rhino poaching intended to discredit his administration. “I would like to assure the nation without hesitation that you will see a lot of improvement as time goes on but not long in terms of anti-poaching,” he said.
As for external threats, Magosi said the major threat is terrorism and the fear that Botswana can ultimately be used or is already being used as platform for terrorism financing. Turning to internal threats, he cited drugs trafficking, Trust national organised crime, espionage, cybercrime, stock theft and corruption, the latter which he said is a serious threat that makes the country lose its identity.