Carter Morupisi: An agent of abject failure

An anti-hunting pressure body has called for a boycott of Botswana’s copper, nickel and tourism until President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s government reinstates the hunting ban on elephants.

The Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH) engineered a watermelon of marchers to coincide with President Masisi’s May 31, 2019 address at the Jewellers Circular Keystone in Las Vegas, Nevada. The lifting of the hunting ban has seen celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, actress Kristin Davis and British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes wade into the boycott of tourism to Botswana unless the hunting ban is maintained.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) annual review, the travel and tourism sector in Botswana grew at 3.4%, just above the Sub-Saharan African average of 3.3% contributing US$ 2.5 billion to the economy. WTTC pegs the tourism contribution at 13.4% of all economic impact and supports 84, 000 jobs. Ninety six percent of the travel and tourism spending was generated by leisure visitors and just 4% from business travellers with 73% spending coming from international travellers and 27% from domestic travel.

And so, when government media announced that Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) and Secretary to Cabinet, Carter Morupisi was to address the nation on matters of national interest, society would have been forgiven in thinking the elephant’s saga and consequent impact on tourism; re-opening BCL Mine; and a lasting solution to rampant corruption would all make the agenda. The press conference would only serve as nothing but yet another senseless and unnecessary assault on former president Ian Khama by the disgraced PSP.

Morupisi tends to step into an imaginary office of ‘de facto Prime Minister’ whenever President Masisi is on international travel. This time around the excuse was to provide government’s perspective on presidential retirement benefits and relations with former presidents especially Khama. And from then onwards everything went downhill. The first glance of malice was served when Morupisi delved to casting doubts about Brigadier George Tlhalerwa’s purported resignation.

It is common cause that the President’s Senior Private Secretary is graded higher than retired President’s Senior Private Secretary. Given Tlhalerwa’s existing contract, he was bound to retain his current salary and benefits, regardless of the lower grade at the office he transitioned to. Changes if any, were always going to be introduced with a new contract, with the choice to accept different contractual offerings as Tlhalerwa’s sole prerogative. That Thalerwa chose to resign was purely out of his own volition – and nothing as gossip monger that is Morupisi wants to suggest.

The highlight and the worst showing was on overtime allocation budget and the subsequent expenditure. The motive by the shamed PSP was to malign in all manner and purpose and butcher Khama’s integrity in the process defining the former president as a reckless spendthrift with no consideration for government coffers. But the plan backfired bitterly leaving an egg of clumsiness on Morupisi’s face.

It is very clear that embattled Morupisi is not mathematically inclined. The comparison of overtime budget allocation, expenditure and inferences expose Morupisi’s unfitness as head of the civil service. Considering his lack of appreciation of a basic human resource management, it brings to question how he even ascended to the post of Director of DPSM.

Khama’s allocated budget of P 650, 000 is four times more than former president Festus Mogae’s allocation of P160, 000. By some mystery Morupisi dishonourably said Khama’s approved budget was seven times more. With clear injurious intent the perennially underachieving PSP wrongfully suggests the allocation of P650, 000 to Khama borders on not treating the two retired presidents equally. The fatally flawed presentation was undone by equally wrong information Morupisi provided of Khama’s office having an extra 13 members of staff.

The late Sir Ketumile Masire was the first retiring President to have a residence built for him. Ten years later controversy erupted once more when Mogae needed a retirement mansion. Unlike Masire and Mogae, Khama took advantage of the legislated provision to have an office separate from his residential house.

It stands to sense that the office and the residence will require more employees and consequently will have a higher wage bill and higher overtime expenditure. This is not rocket science. It appears when Khama retired Morupisi somewhat had the wisdom to discern the need for eight additional staff given the geographic separation of office from residential. However, a year later Morupisi appears to have gone to the mountain and with some undisclosed wisdom wants to undo a secondment he backed.

Logic, clearly a virtue of disability with Morupisi, dictates that overtime expenditure of the ancillary staff would be tied to activities of the retired heads of state. President Mogae spent nearly half the 12 month period brought into question by Morupisi in South Sudan only to resign as Chair of the peace watch Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) in September 2018. Mogae’s overtime allocation of P160, 000 and expenditure of P109, 000 was consistent with the six months that he was expected to be in Botswana. It is the balance of facts and presence of other accompanying circumstances that invalidates Morupisi’s desire to pursue Khama as target of unreasonable expenditure.

In the 2018-19 financial year, Khama’s office hosted about 20 soup kitchens. Only half of these held in Xaixai, Omaweneno, Khumaga, Khawa and other farther away places outside greater Gaborone would have generated overtime. That overtime over a 12 month period would not have exceeded P25, 000 cumulatively. Even if it were to be assumed that Mogae’s expenditure spanned 12 months, both Khama and Mogae spent an average P2, 500 per month per employee. The retired presidents were both within budget with Mogae spending nearly 70% and Khama about 80% of their respective allocations.

The rigidity of the Public Service Act will always be a major source of discontent and overtime generator for non-routine working hours. Chefs and maids in Presidential residences report before 07h00 to cater for breakfast and generally knock off after preparation of dinner. A strategically placed PSP would have deciphered and addressed the unrelenting cause of the overtime. That is where the cake of overtime spending will most likely be found.

Morupisi failed dismally at articulating the matters of national interest. If anything, he succeeded in exposing his glaring incompetence.

Nevada turned out to be a feather in President Masisi’s cap. At the forefront were diamonds and a brisk encounter with a docile elephant loving heckler handled well. In a week where the shine should have been reserved for the President Masisi, Morupisi crafted a means to derail focus and share the platform with the President courtesy of an impoverishing media engagement session.

President Masisi’s suffers the curse of a weak ensemble of unworthy allies. With Masisi’s second in command and green horns in slumber, career opportunists like Morupisi are quick to occupy the vacuums. History is replete with tales of betrayal. And betrayal is the main currency and ingredient in today’s treacherous game of unprincipled politics. But Morupisi should not be entangled in the politics as electioneering is full throttle in vogue.

President Masisi must be mindful of this retinue of inexperienced politicians and hangers on. They continue to endanger victory in the 2019 general elections.

Editor's Comment
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