The leader of Opposition in Parliament, Duma Boko of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has expressed serious lack of confidence in the new Director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Peter Magosi.
Likening Magosi to the former DG, Isaac Kgosi, Boko argued that since Magosi is operating under the same legislation that regulated Kgosi, he has unlimited powers and may become a law unto himself, the same way Kgosi had been.
“He may appear a nice guy now because he is seeking to mollify you and pretend to be a good man. He is subject to the same regulatory framework that enables him to be a law unto himself . Very soon when he starts mowing you down, and he will mow all of you down on the BDP side because of your own internal political strife, which is so serious , when he starts mowing you down, you will come running to us and then we will remind you as I am telling you now, ‘you brought this upon yourselves,” Boko said.
Boko was in fact justifying why he would not pass the proposed amendment bill on counter terrorism Act. The bill among others, seeks to establish a new National Counter terrorism committee, which will work under the financial intelligence Agency.
The functions of the committee would be to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to the suppression of financing of terrorism and the prevention and disruption of the financing of the proliferation of arms of war weapons and successor resolution. However Boko’s worry is that the amendment raises overarching issue of oversight, more so, it is to be housed under the DIS.
“ You see we have had a serious issue with the director of DIS. We have had a serious issue of oversight. You members of this house were aggrieved when the former Director whom you kicked out when he came to you and said ‘I act on my own advice, I don’t refer to anybody, I don’t account to anybody,’ you were shocked and horrified, but the man was telling you the truth. The man was holding you to your own laws that you enacted and gave him unlimited powers and when he exercised those powers in the manner he did because you didn’t like what he did, now you thought he did not have those powers. He did, ” Boko said.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday this week, as he poured cold water on the proposed amendment, Boko accused Parliament for having lacked seriousness when they enacted the DIS regulations and reminded it not to repeat the same mistake.
“You did not provide for the proper oversight over the DIS. You must acknowledge failure on your part. You failed and you failed miserably. Even when you were told, even when you were advised, members of the Botswana Democratic Party, you sang praises of the DIS. Today you turn around, you fake the funk, you pretend you were not there. All of you were complicit in this irregularity. Today you want to blame the poor guy (Kgosi) when he acts on your behalf, when he does what you wanted him to do, you blame him and even kick him out!”
The previous DIS Director, Kgosi was replaced by Magosi soon after the country’s new President, Mokgweetsi Masisi ascended to power in April this year. This was after Kgosi told Parliament Accounts Committee that he did not account to anyone, including the President when it comes to performing his duties.
When the ruling BDP asked Boko as to what amendment he has brought forward in regards to the same piece of legislation in question since he came to Parliament in 2014, Boko’s response was, “My effort to unseat you, to remove the corrupt BDP from power is the best intervention so we can deal with this thing to its very core, that’s what I am doing.”
He added that DIS issue is a systemic problem, which cannot be solved “by some cosmetic changes brought by a guy that calls himself, ‘President Masisi.”
Boko’s contention was that, because of this problem of oversight the nation is now stuck with a situation where the same DIS is now the very place where the counter terrorism centre will be housed and without accountability.
The bill is still before Parliament.