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Masisi deserves commendation for suspending Morupisi

NDULAMO ANTHONY MORIMA
EAGLE WATCH

Writing for Botswana Daily News, Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)’s Keone Kealeboga, on 3rd September 2019, reported that ‘…Morupisi, his wife, Pinny Morupisi, and her company R7 Group, briefly appeared before Regional Magistrate – South yesterday on charges of abuse of office, receiving a bribe and money laundering…’

He continued to report that ‘Morupisi and his co-accused were read their charges, but their pleas were reserved…’, stating that ‘…on the count of abuse of office, Morupisi is alleged to have on 11 November 2014, while holding the position of board chairperson  of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), without authority and final resolution of the board, signed a contract with Capital Management Botswana (CMB) on behalf of the pension fund, authorising CMB to administer BPOPF funds…’

He further reported that ‘…On the charge of acceptance of bribery by a public officer, particulars of the offence are that while employed as PSP and therefore a public officer, Morupisi, signed a contract with CMB on behalf of BPOPF and on 11 May 2017 acting together with his wife, received on behalf of R7 Group, a valuable consideration in the form of a Toyota Land Cruiser Pick-Up….’

Kealeboga further reported that ‘…The third count, that of money laundering, jointly charges the first and second accused, Morupisi and R7 Group. The particulars are that on 15 May 2017, the two accused laundered an amount of R630 988 (P462 260) which was proceeds of crime…’ On 4th September 2019, the Botswana Daily News reported that ‘The Office of the President informs the public that the president Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has suspended the Permanent Secretary to the President Mr Carter Morupisi from office with effect from 2nd September 2019.’

Before I proceed with this article, I wish to state that Morupisi, like every citizen of this country, is to be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This is a constitutional right that every human being, including Morupisi, is entitled to. Therefore, in the absence of compelling reasons as to why he should have been denied bail, the argument that he should have been denied bail simply because other people charged with similar offences before were denied bail cannot be sustained.

In deciding to admit him to bail, the Court was enjoined to consider no other factor than the nature and seriousness of the offence; the likelihood or otherwise of him leaving Botswana before trial; whether or not he would be likely to be imprisoned should he be convicted and the question generally of what sentence or other measure would be likely to be passed in the event of conviction; as well as his character, antecedents, associations and community ties.

The other factors are whether or not he has fulfilled his obligations where he has, in any previous criminal proceedings, if any, been granted bail; and the strength of the case likely to be made out against him. I have faith in our justice system, and believe that the fact that Morupisi was admitted to bail means that he was deserving of bail. So, the suggestion that he was somehow favoured in being admitted to bail is not justified. The same applies to the argument that H.E Dr. Masisi should have dismissed Morupisi from work outright. What if he is later discharged and/or acquitted?

Morupisi, like all citizens, is entitled to due process. Even if he is convicted of the criminal charges he faces, he is to be accorded due process with respect to his rights as an employee. For instance, he is entitled to the right to a hearing before any adverse action is taken against him. In fact, strictly speaking, he should have been accorded the right to a hearing even before his suspension. Advisedly, Morupisi should have been written a letter requiring him to show cause why he should not be suspended.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I am of the view that H.E Dr. Masisi acted prudently in suspending Morupisi considering the sensitive position he holds. As PSP Morupisi is effectively the administrative president and continuing in office during his case would be perilous not only for the investigations, but also for government generally.  

Following Morupisi’s suspension, social media was abuzz with several conspiracy theories. Some claimed that nothing will ultimately happen to Morupisi since this is a political stunt calculated to position H.E Dr. Masisi as intolerant of corruption and ready to take action against any person, including his allies. They say the fact that this comes less than two months before the general elections is intended to have the matter fresh on Batswana’s minds when they go to the polls on 23rd October 2019 so that they vote for Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

According to this theory, H.E Dr. Masisi conspired with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate on Public Prosecutions (DPP) to conjure up fake charges against Morupisi to present himself as a champion of the fight against corruption in order to win votes. For this theory to be true, it would mean that Morupisi would have agreed to sacrifice himself and his wife for the sake of H.E Dr. Masisi’s political career. It would mean that he is prepared to destroy his reputation for the sake of securing H.E Dr. Masisi’s political career.

Of course, Morupisi has demonstrated his loyalty to H.E Dr. Masisi, and has gone to great lengths to defend him, especially in relation to his tussle with former president Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, but can he be so naïve as to go to such an extent as to almost irreparably destroy his and his family’s life and legacy?    

For this conspiracy theory to be true, it would mean that the DCEC and the DPP are so much politicised and under H.E Dr. Masisi’s whims that they would let themselves to be weaponised for political purposes. Granted, the manner in which the directors of the DCEC and the DPP are appointed does not guarantee their independence from the Executive, especially the state President in whom resides the sole power to appoint them, but can they go to such folly, especially knowing how robustly their action will be scrutinised by our vigilant judiciary?  

Though politicians are often prepared to go to any length to secure their political careers, can H.E. Dr. Masisi really go to such an extent? Does he really need to go to such an extent to secure his presidency? Is his presidency really at stake that he needs to risk this much? Is there really a lot at stake in this year’s general elections to warrant such callous action by him?

In my view, I do not think Morupisi would be so much blinded by loyalty to H.E Dr. Masisi that he would voluntarily inflict such irreparable harm on himself and his family, especially considering the political ambitions his wife and him apparently have. Similarly, I do not think the directors and agents of the DCEC and DPP can be so foolish as to let themselves be used in such a way.

I also do not think there is any threat to H.E Dr. Masisi’s presidency as to go to such level of desperation. As I have argued elsewhere, I think the BDP is almost guaranteed of victory in this year’s general elections, something that will ensure that H.E Dr. Masisi continues as president. In my view, therefore, those who are spreading the conspiracy theories surrounding Morupisi’s suspension are doing so to minimise the admirable action that H.E Dr. Masisi has taken which is in keeping with good governance.

 
We have always called for such action to be taken when high profile individuals were facing corruption allegations and or charges. We cannot now ascribe such commendable action to malice or malady in order to minimise H.E Dr. Masisi’s achievement. You would remember that after assuming office in April 2018, H.E Dr. Masisi left, out of his inaugural cabinet, some people who were facing corruption allegations. In doing so he did not say those are guilty, but he demonstrated his commitment to good governance, knowing full well that even mere allegations surrounding such a steward as a government minister had far reaching consequences for the country.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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