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The Cobra strikes In May 2009, Gaborone resident John Kalafatis was shot execution-style by members of a Botswana Defence Force squad known as the Cobra.The Botswana High Court heard that the four killers, who received jail sentences ranging from four to 11 years, were on “loan” to the directorate.“People just criticise based on the media reports, which, according to me, are not credible. People should show us evidence.” He said the directorate was formed by an Act of Parliament and, before it was launched, Botswana was the only country in the region without an intelligence organ.The directorate was established under the Intelligence and Security Services Act in April 2008, on the same day that Khama took power.Alarm is growing in Botswana about the unaccountable power of the country’s shadowy Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), which has been accused of unlawful acts, including extrajudicial killings and the harassment and surveillance of journalists and opposition politicians.The directorate answers only to President Ian Khama and its powers are widely and loosely defined in controversial legislation.
Shortly before his death, Motswaledi told the media that his house had been broken into three times, most recently in February this year, and that his laptops had been stolen.
Staff movements within the directorate also tend to be opaque: in September this year, Kgosi’s deputy, Tefo Kgotlhane, stepped down for unexplained reasons and was replaced by Colonel Modiri Kooagile, a retired army commando.
Following media pressure, Parliament’s intelligence committee reportedly decided to call Kgosi to account and ask him to step down pending the DCEC investigation. Two opposition MPs have since quit the committee, protesting that they did not want to be part of a toothless organisation.
It was also suspected of having a hand in irregularities in the recent general election, he said, adding: “We know very well that the DISS protects the interests of the ruling party and the president.” Motshegwa said that the directorate vetted foreign investors seeking residence and work permits, which was “not healthy for the country” and created the risk of bribes being paid for government permits and licences.
No evidence The presidential spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, said the government was aware of the criticism aimed at the directorate.Both the director general and deputy director general of the directorate are appointed by the president, who determines their terms and conditions.