Outgoing Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) boss, Dr. Patrick Molutsi has cleared the air surrounding his alleged forced exit from his position as Chief Executive Officer of HRDC, a position he relinquishes in a week’s time – that is on 31st March.
Molutsi who has been heading HRDC as acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since his contract expired last year said that he had actually offered to leave his post as he had already reached retirement age.
“I expressed my wish to leave to the board because I want to do my own things before I grow old.” He added that, “I indicated to them that I want my retirement package and also left them the option that I can always come back to work with them on a short contract basis as a consultant.”
He then rhetorically asked, “If they then agree to release you how can you complain?”
This notwithstanding, he in the same breadth leaves open ended, the question of whether his exit was engineered by politically connected interests vying for his position, “But I cannot say I’m sure whether my exit was not engineered.”
He is also of the view that it makes hard to believe as all the while it has been known by his principals and all where his political soul lay.
Molutsi came to land his position by applying for it in 2003 out of Sweden where he was based and clinched the top job at the then Tertiary Education Council (TEC) before it was merged into the current HRDC in 2013.
Molutsi who has been linked to the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) also said that looking into the future, he cannot say whether or not he will actively join politics as he had not given it a thorough thought and that his intention is to take things lightly in his retirement.
It has also been reported that he is the victim of a ruling party purge on chief executives suspected of opposition party leanings that is said to have claimed the scalp of former Motor Vehicle Accident fund (MVA) boss Cross Kgosidiile, who was pushed into the realm of the unemployed under vague terms.
Molutsi leaves behind an ambitious and futuristic higher education blueprint which will mostly bear fruit after he is long gone.
According to him, in order for higher education to be flexible and for the labour supply/demand gap to be closed they have instituted a credit based platform that will allow students to easily switch schools such a moving from the University of Botswana (UB) to Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) vice versa, without disrupting their levels of study.
He said that as is currently the case, where finishing a Diploma qualification takes 12 credits in three years, the new system will be such that if a student can finish all their credits in one year they will get their Diploma qualification as is the case in foreign parts of the world. “It is no longer about the number of years and bright eyed students will no longer be held in bondage by the program,” he said.
Furthermore, he highlighted as expensive the model in which education trainees have been taking six years to complete their Degree qualification. The model has been such that the trainees spend three years to finish their Diploma’s at Colleges of Education and then proceed to the University of Botswana where they spend another three years on their Degree program. Molutsi reproved that, “It is very expensive in the production of labour force and it doesn’t need six years for a Degree but unfortunately it takes time to be appreciated by policy makers.”
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.