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Set-up commission of inquiry to investigate DIS activities

Publishing Date : 29 May, 2018

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The circumstances surrounding the departure of Director General of Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS) calls for a commission of inquiry to investigate the activities of the organisation since its formation 10 years ago.

There has been a litany of complaints against the DISS from ordinary people and high profile people alike. The main complaint is that the DISS had gone rogue, that it veered from its mandate to become somewhat a terrorist organisation because of its perceived target of ordinary, unarmed and defenceless people.

As much as the arrival of Brigadier Peter Magosi will instigate a paradigm shift in the operations of the organisation; there is still need for closure. What transpired in the past 10 years cannot simply be swept under the rug and buried like nothing ever happened. Although some of the allegations may be false, we cannot altogether dismissed all the horror stories that have come to the fore since it started operation. Some of the things have to be interrogated and indeed closure for all who feel victimised or have been victimised be sought.  

Of course there have been audits, but the audits are more concerned with the use of public funds, and state assets, while little attention is being paid to the activities of the organisation, especially those that border on violation of civil liberties and other human rights violations. The purpose of this commission of inquiry would not be only to identify illegal activities carried out by the security organs, but to ensure that such gross violations are not committed again going forward.

Part of the commission will help our democracy in that the commission would present to those who were violated by the DISS, a platform to give evidence before the committee. This would also be gesture that government cares about its citizens and that everything that happened during the past leadership will never be allowed to happen again. The DISS would stay in its lane; pursue its mandate in line with national interest without diverting into witch-hunting and being used for personal and political purposes and gain.

We have in the past set-up commission of inquiries which have had far-reaching impact in both policy making and legislative framework. The 1992 Englishman Kgabo Commission which investigated land allocation in Gaborone and its periphery saw the resignation of then Vice President Peter Mmusi as well as then Minister of Agriculture, Daniel Kwelagobe because of their involvement in unethical land dealings in their area.

There was the Richard Christie Commission which investigated the activities of the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) and its findings also helped in identifying lapses in processes as well as charting the way forward. It is also clear that in the past, government has been swift to respond to the concerns of the people, hence in the 1990s amid corruption scandals in the public sector, then President Sir Ketumile Masire responded by setting-up these commissions.

In view of the fact that we have had too many problems in the last 10 years or so, does the absence of commissions mean we care less about the state of our affairs? Surely good governance standards have been let to slip in recent years. Good governance standards require that they are maintained and enhanced with time.

We cannot rely on the past successes and be complacent. We need to introspect as country and see if our institutions are faring well or not.We appreciate yesterdays’ efforts by Brigadier Magosi to engage the media. It is unprecedented and we hope this would continue going forward. Such gesture was unheard of during the leadership of the former director general of the DISS.



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