The former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, has alleged that President Mokgweetsi Masisi all but forced him to terminate the employment contract of a female Deputy Permanent Secretary whose name he won’t reveal. What he has revealed though is that he has documentary evidence that could create legal complications for the president in a legal showdown that could be lying farther down the road.
Morupisi makes this allegation in a July 25, 2022 letter of demand that he has written Masisi, asking him to retract statements that he made about him at last month’s National Council of the Botswana Democratic Party. One of the secondary points that Morupisi makes in the letter is that, following a press conference at which he explained benefits due to former presidents, Masisi got in touch with a congratulatory message that was tag-ended with what was basically an unlawful instruction.
Morupisi, who was Masisi’s first PSP, gave the press conference against the background of former President Ian Khama having publicly complained that the government was denying him benefits that were due to him as a former president. The press conference was livestreamed on Facebook, including on the government’s own page, bwgovernment. At this time (May 31, 2019), Masisi was in the United States and what he did afterwards suggests that he had watched a recording of the press conference.
“… after the press conference, you sent me a WhatsApp message at 1706 PM local time: Morning PSP, well done on the interview. I am receiving interesting feedback. Kindly ensure that you do not renew DPS (name withheld) contract upon expiry. It is said that she leaks internal information and is generally unsupportive.”
Not renewing contracts in the civil service is an everyday occurrence but the instruction in the WhatsApp message would have contravened Section 8(4) of the Public Service Act. The provision in question accords authority to appoint senior management of the public service not to the president but the PSP.
Masisi reliance on second-hand information is baffling because he has high-grade investigative resources at his disposal and for that reason, should have been authoritatively asserting what he knew for a fact. The latter doesn’t seem to have been the case because if Masisi had evidence about the officer leaking internal (meaning confidential) information, then there would have been evidence that would have enabled the DPS’ bosses to impose punitive sanctions on her for leaking official secrets. In service of the latter, such evidence would have been shared with Morupisi who would have instituted disciplinary proceedings against the DPS.
Morupisi doesn’t want to haul the president over the coals for this instruction but for defaming his character at the Botswana Democratic Party National Council which was held in Gaborone last month. Counting from July 25, 2022, Morupisi has given Masisi 90 days to apologise for the offensive words.