Former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi confronted President Mokgweetsi Masisi to express his disappointment for using him to fight his political battles with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
According to sources, a fuming Morupisi was able to set-up a meeting with Masisi last week. Chief on the agenda was Morupisi’s displeasure at how Masisi treated him, including among others the decision to not offer him contract extension, despite having earlier indicated his desire to serve two more years. “He went to tell Masisi off, I think he feels betrayed. Anyone would. Imagine being there and standing by someone only for them to turn against you,” revealed a source close to developments.
The meeting however did not end well, as Masisi did not take kindly to Morupisi’s confrontation resulting with the latter being shown the exit door. Following Masisi’s ascendance to presidency at the beginning of April in 2018, Morupisi became a key man in the fallout between Masisi and his predecessor, Khama. At the height of Masisi-Khama tension in the build up to 2019 general elections, Morupisi was used as the hitman, unleashing on the onslaught on his hapless former boss.
Morupisi’s civil service career found momentum during Khama’s presidency after being elevated from a Permanent Secretary position to head Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM), and later assuming the reigns as the head of civil service in 2014. However, Morupisi found himself being saddled with the task of delivering the sad news to Khama every time. Unbeknownst to him, Morupisi at one point told WeekendPost that his loyalty lies with the current President as required by the position he held.
It is however believed that Masisi has always had plans to replace Morupisi with Elias Magosi, who was appointed as Morupisi’s understudy at the beginning of Masisi’s term in 2018. Magosi was announced as the new PSP three weeks ago, a development which incensed Morupisi. Though Morupisi had been on suspension since September 2019 owing to corruption charges relating to dealings at Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and Capital Management Botswana (CMB) he had hoped his contract would be extended.
Sources reveal that during his suspension from office, Morupisi proposed to have his contract renewed but he was turned down. During the heated meeting recently, it is alleged that Masisi felt no remorse at all when Morupisi confronted him on how disappointed he was. A few days before seeing off his contract, Morupisi had called a press conference in which he promised to spill the beans. In the invitation directed to the media, Morupisi quoted the iconic human rights activist Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, “Our lives begin to end the day we choose to be silent about things that matter”, he wrote.
The Office of the President however moved swiftly to warn Morupisi that should he proceed with such a press conference, there would be serious implications on his part. Morupisi developed cold feet and cancelled the press conference at the eleventh hour. It is reported that government threatened to withhold his terminal benefits should he contravene the Public Service Act, which govern Morupisi, who was at that time, a government employee.
Initially when Morupisi’s contract ended, it was alleged that Morupisi was given a period of three months to seek alternative accommodation while waiting to vacate his official residence at Extension 11 in Gaborone. However on Thursday last week, Morupisi was slapped with another secretive eviction letter that indicated that he needed to vacate the premises within a week. This, sources close to the developments say was done immediately after Morupisi and Masisi’s heated meeting. “Morupisi wanted Masisi to know that he is disappointed, I think he never thought at some point he would change on him. Now the tables have turned, he is amongst those who have faced the axe from the current regime,” said the source.
This publication reported that as the year slowly unfolds more heads are expected to roll within government enclave as Masisi is prepared to phase out more top civil servants from their duties and replace them with his new brigade. When reached for comment Morupisi denied having met the President on such grounds, indicating that the only encounter he had with the President was when he went to say his goodbyes since his contract was nearing an end.
More developments revealed by reliable sources to this publication indicate that the former PSP is now trying to rekindle his relationship with Khama.It is reported that Morupisi had recently met with the former President in a brief meeting. Morupisi made startling revelations at a media briefing in Gaborone last year which was aimed at discussing the pension and benefits of former presidents, in which Khama was at the receiving end.
The public service chief said former presidents; the late Sir Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae never wanted special treatment extended to them from government with regard to pensions and benefits, but Khama continues to expect preferential treatment. Morupisi revealed that Khama had been a burden as he wanted to be treated with kid’s gloves and offered special treatment. He also revealed that all the favours propelled to Khama were not within the legal framework as they had to go an extra mile for him.
“In all honesty it will not be fair and authentic to the late former President Masire if I state that he wanted the government to treat him with kid’s gloves and extended his benefits beyond what is in the rule book,” he stated. According to Morupisi, Masire never troubled government, even though he had many financial shortcoming and needs. In nursing his relation with Khama, Morupisi would have to face the bitter realities. When Khama was at the receiving end of Morupisi directives in 2018, he accused the latter of using him in order to ingratiate himself to President Masisi in order to keep his job.
Khama warned Morupisi that all that he is doing to him in his endeavour to protect his job will soon catch up with him. Khama, who referred to Morupisi as a ‘pretender’ said he was concerned in his bid to please Masisi, he was doing so by undermining him, disparaging, frustrating and sabotaging him.
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.