The parliamentary committee on intelligence and security (PCIS) is expected to meet this week in an effort to push the embattled Director General of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi from his position.
But the begging question is, would the committee, which is predominately made up of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party MPs, have the guts to push out a larger than life figure like Isaac Kgosi? It appears the Opposition may have shot itself in the foot when it resolved at the inception of the DIS to boycott the PCIS. It may live to regret that day, now that its vote is the most crucial. But this notwithstanding, observers says that although the PCIS is empowered to take resolutions such as calling for the resignation of the spy chief, the eight-man committee does not have the powers to push Kgosi from his position.
The functions of the committee, according to the Intelligence and Security Act are limited to examining the expenditure, administration and policy of the Directorate. Under the Act, the appointing authority is the president and the president only. Despite this some members of the committee feel that they can put more pressure on president Ian Khama and the executive to remove Kgosi from his position. Sources this week told Botswana Guardian that of the eight members of the committee, few have the nerve to tell Kgosi to his face to resign. The numbers according to sources do not favour those calling for Kgosi’s removal. “Even if they succeed in resolving that he should resign, which is unlikely, Kgosi will not be pushed from office by lowly placed MPs with limited influence.
In fact the only structures that can push Kgosi out are the president and to a certain extent the Intelligence and Security Council,” a BDP source told this newspaper. A member of the committee however feels that the committee is not completely toothless. He said that should the committee resolve to ask Kgosi to resign they would have a strong case for the president to axe him. “I am sure that the president will eventually feel the pressure and do something,” said the MP preferring anonymity for fear of victimisation within the BDP. This week Botswana Guardian looks at some of the members of the committee and how they are likely to vote should Kgosi’s suitability to hold the DIS be subjected to a vote.
His reluctance to convene the committee meeting with Kgosi says it all. Those who work with him say that he has already made up his mind. For a man who is positioning himself for a ministerial position it is difficult to see him defying the party line.
As committee chairman, one MP commented that Molatlhegi is weak. “He is weak not because he is not intelligent but because he hardly participates in committee meetings he chairs,” said another MP.
Mephato Reggie Reatile
The former Botswana National Front (BNF) firebrand will obviously vote against any resolution that seeks to remove Kgosi from his position. Like Molatlhegi, Reatile is eyeing a cabinet position. He is also close to the Khama brothers, President Khama and Tshekedi. Others however say that in the corridors of parliament Reatile feels that Kgosi should be suspended but he is too close to the Khamas to disappoint them.
One MP has described him as ‘unpredictable’. The Member of Parliament for Boteti South has told his peers in BDP and opposition that he wants Kgosi to be suspended. But one MP is quick to add that Tsogwane doesn’t have the guts to adopt a contrarian stance against the establishment. He is expected to abstain or vote against any resolution that would call for Kgosi’s axing.
The former cabinet minister has been one of the vocal BDP MPs but is he vocal enough to vote for a resolution that calls for Kgosi’s removal from office? The answer according to an opposition MP is simple. “Though he agrees that Kgosi is an embarrassment to the intelligence community he won’t vote with us. He will either abstain or vote against a move to resolve to suspend Kgosi mainly because he doesn’t want to defy the party line.”
It is however surprising for a man who is retiring from active politics to be beholden to the ruling party. Perhaps he doesn’t want to rock the boat because he doesn’t want his businesses to be sabotaged.
He is critical of the way president Khama has so far handled the ‘Kgosi fiasco’ but for political reasons he would rather keep quiet and focus on being re-elected into parliament.
Chances are that for political expediency and not out of principle he would vote against any resolution to suspend Kgosi.
The Botswana Congress Party MP is clear that he wants Kgosi to step aside and clear his name. He is currently leading a team of committee members who wants Kgosi to resign. He was one of the MPs that successfully pressurised Molatlhegi to convene a meeting to address the ‘Kgosi fiasco’. He recently told Botswana Gazette that the voice of the committee must be heard.
Major General Moeng Pheto
The former cabinet minister and now an independent candidate for Mmopane Lentsweletau constituency is 100 percent behind MPs that want the committee to pass a resolution calling for the removal of Kgosi. Pheto is one of the most active participants of the committee according to other MPs sitting on the committee.
Another disgruntled former BDP MP Makosha will definitely vote for a resolution to kick Kgosi out of office. Like Pheto, Makosha is now standing as an independent candidate. His peers in the opposition say he now feels liberated outside the BDP.