Filling his boots

Portia Mlilo
Solomon Mantswe(L),Busang Lesola(M),Phemelo Ramakorwane(R)

Race to be named ‘Top Cop’ heats up

Unceremoniously dumped on the sidelines for the last 19 months, despite falling out of favour, suspended Police Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe has plenty of reasons to smile.

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Filling his boots

Although the troubled top cop’s career may be in tatters, he has still received his full salary, pocketing an estimated P1, 038, 122 while out of work.

With his time in office officially elapsing at the end of the year, the battle to fill Makgophe’s big boots is heating up.

It means there will be a new Commissioner in town for the first time since 2012, when Makgophe was originally promoted to the top job following Thebeyame Tsimako’s retirement.

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Although his term came to an end in 2021, it was extended by a further two years.

However, three months into the extension, disaster struck hard!

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In March 2022, Makgophe, 61, was arrested in connection with licenses for weapons of war allegedly issued to former President, Ian Khama.

As well as SKI and the Commissioner, the saga saw charges laid against two more high-profile figures: former intelligence boss, Isaac Kgosi, and the former Permanent Secretary, Victor Paledi.

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With the matter still pending before the Gaborone Regional Court, Makgophe remains on suspension and is likely to finish his time in office out of it.

In an address to the media recently, the Minister of Defence and Security, Kagsio Mmusi confirmed a new Police Commissioner will be named soon. But, who will it be?

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With a number of high-ranking officials entering the afternoon of their lives and expected to leave their current positions at the start of next year, three names have cropped-up as front-runners for the post.

One of the favourites to land the plum position is Phemelo Ramakorwane, who has been serving as acting Police Commissioner in Makgophe’s enforced absence.

Before his temporary appointment as the head of the police, the 57-year-old was employed as the Deputy Commissioner Support Service, a critical unit which deals with police asserts, procurement and tendering processes. Ramakorwane’s contract has him down in this role for another three years, which complicates things slightly.

Another candidate in the running is Solomon Mantswe, currently working as the Deputy Commissioner Responsible for Police Operations.

Boasting over 30 years with Botswana Police, the vastly experienced Mantswe has held a number of managerial positions in the community, including being appointed to the Turnstar Holdings board of directors last year. He was also the Chairman of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), a position he held from 2017 to this year.

However, at 61, age may not be on his side.

Candidate number three doesn’t have that problem; clocking in at a sprightly 54 years of age, Busang Lesola is the third individual being touted as the next police boss.

Currently serving as Deputy Commissioner Responsible for Criminal Investigations, the hands of time may be on Lesola’s side but it would be a historic appointment as BPS has never been led by a CID officer before…time will soon tell if this is to change!

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