The Office of the President (OP) has this week appointed with immediate effect former Acting Director of Tribal Administration, also former District Commissioner for North East District Council Loeto Porati as Private Secretary to former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Even though Porati has not yet resumed duty, Khama on Thursday said he will write back to OP to say they did not follow the due process of appointing a Private Secretary. “During my time in office, the general procedure has been that, you recommend a name and government as the appointing authority will dully appoint the person if they are available. In the event that the person is still holding public office they will either release them or tell you to recommend another name,” Khama told WeekendPost.
Khama said a Private Secretary is someone very close, someone you discuss personal things with so it cannot be a stranger but someone you trust. “I cannot say I know him (Porati), this is someone I once bumped into whilst I was still in office. What baffles me is why is he being imposed on me, why would the President insist on him, why? People have been telling me that he is being sent to spy on me,” said Khama. Khama said during former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi’s tenure, they wrote to him to recommend the name of his choice of Private Secretary.
“Even though they rejected the name at least they had the decency to write to me and ask if I do recommend the name,” he said. Khama said this is the general practice which he had held in high esteem during his time in office. Khama was left without a Private Secretary in 2018 when Brigadier George Tlhalerwa decided to resign after government refused to allow him to continue serving on the same salary and package at the end of Khama’s tenure.
After the departure of Tlhalerwa in September 2018, Khama proposed the name of former intelligence chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi but the then Permanent Secretary to President and Secretary to Cabinet Cater Morupisi refused to appoint him. Khama through his lawyers Toteng and Company, served government with a statutory notice demanding that Kgosi be appointed as his Senior Private Secretary within a reasonable time failing which he will institute review proceedings and seek an order declaring that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful and be set aside.
Government maintained its stance regarding the refusal to employ Kgosi, a move that left Khama without a Private Secretary for almost two years now. In the interim, one Mabedi Letsholo has been executing the duties on acting basis. The former President was quoted in one of the local newspapers when asked about Letsholo saying: “We worked together at the Office of the President and he has been doing so well to save the situation.”
At the time Khama said he badly wanted to continue with Tlhalerwa or his most trusted ally Kgosi because they come a long way and previously worked together. “You just do not pick anybody to be your Private Secretary. It has to be somebody you know and who knows you,” he emphasised. However, approximately two years without a Senior Private Secretary, government has this week appointed with immediate effect Loeto Porati to take the position at former President Khama’s Office. A source who spoke on anonymity said there is a suspicion that Porati is sent by Masisi to monitor Khama’s office and report to his masters.
The appointment taking effect immediately has been made without notice, consultation or any agreement with the former President or his office. The fallout between Khama and his successor President Masisi has profoundly deteriorated to a point where there is a reported continuous harassment of officers who have been working under Khama for many years, the latest being Tiggy Letswapong, Khama’s Executive Secretary, the two have worked together for 22 years.
Letswapong’s contract is coming to an end this month and government has taken a decision not to renew it. Again, Khama’s long-time medical officer who has also worked with him for more than 20 years was relieved of his duties at the former President’s office on Monday. It has not been established where the officer is currently stationed. Khama was also quoted saying, “Officers (are) removed from my office without consultation, without reasons. Why is my Senior Executive Secretary’s contract not being renewed while (the one) for former President Festus Mogae has been renewed”.
Impeccable sources told WeekendPost that all cabinet Ministers and former President Mogae are entitled to the services of Private Secretaries of their own choice and selection. “In this one President Masisi has instructed his PSP Elias Magosi that Khama’s Private Secretary must be appointed by him personally,” said a source close to OP. It is alleged that at the centre of controversy is Khama’s continued charity work which must be put to rest.
“A special team is reported to be working around the clock, to end Khama’s legacy more especially the Presidential Housing Appeal which continues to bring Khama some respect despite government’s continued effort in trying to tarnish his name. Khama continues to receive countless requests to assist charitable projects and activities across the country,” alleged the source.
Following the now dreaded standoff between Masisi and his predecessor, a few weeks back the Masisi led administration withdrew BX vehicle registration number plates, which were alleged to be for use by President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Vice President Slumber Tsogwane respectively. Efforts to reach Permanent Secretary to the President Elias Magosi proved futile as his phones rang unanswered.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.