Private Secretary to the President and Secretary to Cabinet, Carter Morupisi has defended former president Ian Khama’s non-invitation to the fallen heroes commemoration that was held Wednesday at the Three Chiefs monument on Gaborone.
Khama, a former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, was not invited to the commemoration of the fallen heroes, while all former commanders were present in a move that has rubbed salt to an already itchy relationship. On the day, Khama accompanied by Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta Polson Majaga went to lay the wreath for the fallen heroes at Extension 14 cemetery for the 15 members of the BDF.
This sparked yet another debate that this is one of Presient Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision to sideline his predecessor.
However, in an interview with The Monitor, Morupisi said there was nothing malicious about the decision not to invite Khama to the event as invitations were done on rotational basis.
Morupisi explained that the BDF decides whom to invite to this event. But he said for this year, all former presidents were not invited. “The invitations are done by the BDF. But what I was told is that the invitations are done on a rotational basis. The BDF could decide to invite all former BDF commanders or Presidents at once, but they have been rotating the invitations to the former presidents. This year they didn’t invite the former presidents hence Khama was not part of the commemoration. There was nothing malicious about it really,” he said.
For his part, Khama expressed disappointment that he was snubbed to commemorate the fallen heroes day. He said as a former commander of the BDF, he expected to get an invitation because retired officers from the BDF were invited. “It is true I wasn’t invited. It is extremely disappointing because other retired officers from BDF were invited and I would have thought that having been the commander at some stage, I too could have been invited especially this date is significant in that, the reason this day was chosen was when the Lesoma incident took place and I was very much around at the time and involved with those people, some of them I knew personally. So being deprived the opportunity to be able to go and show your respect to those who lost their lives and their families, I think this was extremely unfortunate,” said Khama.
Khama said he had to go to the actual graveside of the soldiers who were killed in Lesoma to lay a wreath on his own. Despite this, he said he has not bothered to ask why he was not invited.
“With what is going on these days as you are aware I guess it is just part of that,” he said.