Army Commanders heads on the chopping block
A major reshuffle of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) top command is alleged to be on the cards as the new President, Mokgweetsi Masisi continues to stamp his authority.
The reshuffle, which is likely to affect two senior officers perceived to be former president Ian Khama’s loyalists would be a further shake up of the country’s security establishments, which started at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) three weeks ago with the sacking of its Director General, Colonel Isaac Kgosi.
By Tuesday night, allegations were rife that a dismissal letter for the Deputy commander of the BDF, Major General Gotsileene Morake had been prepared and waiting for him to be served when he gets back in his office from his official trip to Switzerland on Monday.
Both Military and political pundits opined that after the removal of Morake, The army commander, Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo, also perceived to be a Khama loyalist would probably be next to bite the dust in a move meant to pave way for Major General Molefi Seikano, who is the current Commander of the ground forces and a Masisi loyalist and homie from Moshupa village.
A reliable source from within the BDF posited that Morake would be an easy target to get rid of because of his alleged offences amongst them fratenising with a female private officer and drunken driving charges.
“He was also charged with abuse of office,” said the source.
A highly placed source however insisted that Morake was a self -confessed Khama man and his dismissal would be part of sweeping changes aimed at purging the security forces from the generals of the previous establishment.
For his part, Morake confirmed to have heard rumours of his alleged dismissal from friends.
“Some of my friends called saying they saw something on social media about my expulsion but I am still outside the country so I really have no idea of what’s going on,” he said.
Meanwhile, Directorate of Protocol and Public Affairs, Major Fana Maswabi said according to the BDF Act section 27, it is the President who appoints an officer to the position of Commander, the Deputy Commander and Command Commanders before referring all queries to the Office of the President (OP).
Efforts to get a comment from OP failed as Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi’s phone rang unanswered.
Earlier this month, Masisi replaced the head of the DISS, Kgosi with his nemesis, Brigadier Peter Magosi, reinstated the former DISS second in command, Tefo Kgotlhane who had been fired by Kgosi before and fired Brigadier Sentsekae Macheng who is also said to be a supporter of Khama and Kgosi.
Commenting on Masisi’s changes, a military commentator and an army general said, although Masisi’s drastic changes were understandable, the president should be cautious not to push the Khama group into a corner where they might feel the need to fight back.
“ If he fires too many of them too fast, they might regroup and plot and strategise against him and that might lead to a crisis. I know he has been systematically disarming them, but he mustn’t lose sight of the fact that Khama has for the last 20 years entrenched himself in the system and Kgosi had access to limitless resources at his disposal to use as he pleased,” warned the concerned general.