When President Mokgweetsi Masisi arrived at Kazungula Bridge in the evening of May 9, on the eve of the commissioning of the facility, there were two individuals he was riding with in his car. The President was, as is the norm lately, driving himself, with his one security detail on the front passenger seat. And right behind the President’s driver seat was Professor Mosepele Mosepele, deputy coordinator of Presidential COVID-19 Task Force.
Mosepele had arrived on the Presidential jet, while Task Team coordinator, Dr Kereng Masupu used alternative transport to reach Kasane.
As a matter of fact, Mosepele has been very close to the President for a while now.
Almost every international trip by Masisi, whether it is about fighting terrorist threats in Mozambique or attending Elias Magosi’s campaign trail around SADC member states, Mosepele has always been on the plane and close to the President.
This week the press secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang strangely responded to Mmegi questionnaire with answers from Sunday Standard’s questionnaire on the issue. Leagajang said: “The President is entitled to travel with anyone he chooses both on his domestic and international trips.
That can be a private citizen, a traditional leader, business person or a civil servant.”
“Professor Mosepele is the Deputy Coordinator of the Presidential Task Team so his presence around the President is very relevant.
In all the regional trips that Professor Mosepele accompanies the President on, he always engages his counterparts in those countries to exchange notes on the fight against COVID-19 and he always reports to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and this has been found to be very helpful to the countries involved,” explained Leagajang. However, he could not answer whether the closeness of Mosepele to the President could adversely affect the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force Team since the Deputy Coordinator has unlimited access to the President than the Coordinator.
Last year August, Mosepele decided to storm out from the Task Force when he tendered his resignation after an alleged tussle with the Ministry of Health. Masisi however, refused to accept his resignation in an unknown hatched deal that saw the professor turned into a blue-eyed boy with unlimited access to the President. Meanwhile, Mosepele and Masupu could not respond to Mmegi calls and texts on the issue.
The surfacing of Mosepele coincided with the disappearance of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) director general, Peter Magosi around the President.
In the lead up to the 2019 general election, Magosi turned himself into the personal bodyguard of the President reasoning that his (Masisi’s) life was in danger.
Section Nine of the Intelligence and Security Service Act confers the DIS with the responsibility to oversee personal protection of the President. Magosi, who was then newly appointed after the sacking of Isaac Kgosi, took the presidential protection job very personally.
At some point during the ruling party’s presidential elections in Kang few years back, the spy chief performed movie stunts by clinging on the window of the vehicle carrying the President.
Back then Magosi was part of all the local and international trips and stood right behind Masisi during press conferences.
This week the DIS spokesperson, Edward Robert said it was all tactical moves to protect the President after the threat assessment.
Robert said: “The Directorate regularly collects intelligence around this function which will then inform us on the tactics and resources to deploy.
So whatever tactics we deploy in the form of both human and technical deployment, that would be as a result of the assessment we would have conducted.” “There will be times when the DG will be visible in the security details of VIPs and there will be those times when such is not the case. So the absence or presence of the DG in the security detail of His Excellency the President is a tactical decision that we cannot go to town about,” said the spokesperson.