The ruthless sharp chopping axe which is always hovering at the government enclave on Tuesday landed and cut short the illustrious career of Commissioner of Prisons, Colonel Silas Motlalekgosi from the civil service.
Motlalekgosi was axed from his luxurious position this week and the bearer of the bad news was his boss, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi. In an interview Wednesday, Motlalekgosi said Mmusi called him to his office Tuesday morning and gave him his dismissal letter which pronounced that his services end with immediate effect since the appointing authority in President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi has decided to retire him with immediate effect.
Permanent Secretary to the President Elias Magosi signed the letter, which also specified that his deputy has been appointed to act in his position. “It was unfortunate that save for stating that I have to leave with immediate effect, the letter did not explain issues like when should I have vacated the official residence,” said a dejected Motlalekgosi. He added, “I however asked the Acting Commissioner to ask our principals on my behalf because even if I had a house obviously it must be rented out and as such I will need to give the occupant sufficient notice to vacate.”
The now former prisons boss says as much as he had wanted to know the reasons for being early retired with immediate effect he did not see the need for Minister Mmusi to furnish him with the reasons as the appointing authority (the President) has the right to appoint and un-appoint someone from office. He however described his relationship with Masisi as “great”, saying that he worked well together with the appointing authority. Motlalekgosi, the man credited for reshaping and improving conditions of service at the Botswana Prisons Service (BPS) did not have an easy walk on the park after being seconded to BPS for two (2) years in October 2008 by President Ian Khama from Botswana Defence Force where he was serving as Artillery Brigade Commander.
His mandate was to find ways in which BPS could restructure and re-energise. He took over from Commissioner Herman Kau, who had retired the previous year becoming the second soldier of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to head the prison warders. The other is the retired Brigadier Justice Bando Sebolao, who served from 1996 to 1998 after government had realised that there was a vacuum with the prisons management. In a press conference during his early days at prisons he described prison “as a microcosm of mankind” which should be a shared responsibility with all the stakeholders.
Subsequent to coming up with the recommendation on what ought to be done at the BPS, Motlalekgosi was made to retire at BDF in order to take over the Commissioner’s post on full time basis. The then Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Lethogonolo Peter Siele appointed him to the position as he felt that he was better placed to address the issues that he identified.
Among his achievements was advocating for Parliament to pass the Ministry of Defence and Justice Budget proposal which included the procurement of radio equipment known as phone jammers. The equipment tracks mobile calls by handsets smuggled inside Prisons for use by inmates usually to organise gangs and drug deals and to harass crime victims and witnesses outside prisons. Motlalekgosi holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration from Lacrosse University in Louisiana, USA and a Certificate in Principles of Management from UB.