It is with utmost concern that I have taken note of, and compelled to register my strong reservations to a front-page article appearing in the latest edition of the Weekend Post newspaper [20/10/18], under the mischievous and misleading headline “Morupisi humiliates Khama in Palapye”; which falsely accuses me of interference in a kgotla meeting involving former President Khama that was held in Palapye this past Friday.
Among the false statements appearing in the said article is that, in my capacity as Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) “called the area Member of Parliament Honourable Moiseraele Goya and ordered him not to attend the meeting.” There is simply no truth in this statement. I find it, moreover not only preposterous but also outrageous that someone could even think that I, as an experienced senior public servant, could ever contemplate issuing such an instruction to a political leader.
It is also untrue that I ordered members of the Botswana Police Service to leave the event in question. In this respect I am informed that in fact no on duty police officers were either assigned or present at the event. For police officers to cover a privately arranged social event such as Serorome Kgotla gathering, one has to apply requesting for coverage. No such request or application was received by the Police. Particular events such as Political rallies or sponsored walks, require prior authorisation from the police after an application is received in accordance with the Public Order Act. Social events such as football games or tournaments and other social events do not require permission from the police but the organiser can apply for coverage. As it is, it is not normal practice for police officers to be deployed at kgotla meetings, although exceptions are made depending on the nature and stature of a particular gathering.
For the record I was not at the said Serorome Kgotla gathering. On the said day I was officiating at Xhumo Primary School prize giving ceremony (which is 25 kilometers from Rakops) invited as the school patron.
Furthermore, I am shocked that the Weekend Post article went on to further allege that “Botswana Police acting under my instruction went on to remove the top table...” In this respect, I am informed that while a table was moved, it was in fact actually done so by the former President’s security detail to shift it out of the sun and put it under the shade for his convenience. This was confirmed by Hon Assistant Minister Goya upon inquiry.
In the context of the above, it may be noted that it has been and remains the position of Government to provide protocol services and support to both former Presidents Mogae and Khama at their official engagements when we have been officially notified of them. We are not, however, responsible for arranging their non-official meetings, be it in a kgotla or elsewhere.
Finally, I wish to record my personal concern that the Weekend Post did not attempt to engage me prior to the publication of their irresponsible article whose contents, besides being slanderous to myself, could have the effect of undermining the public peace with its baseless and divisive disinformation. It is indeed disheartening to observe that such malicious reports appear to have now become a permanent feature on the part of the Weekend Post, whose editor has a professional obligation to ensure that such reckless reporting comes to an end.
While as Government, we fully respect the right of a free press to report without fear or favour, I do believe that they have a responsibility to report truthfully and objectively, while avoiding malice and bias in the seemingly sponsored hidden agendas particularly against me. All these facts can be verified by the Private Secretary to the Former President Mr Letsholo who can be contacted at 72263706.
Carter N. Morupisi
PERMANENT SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT