Khama staff frustrated by OP- Khama tussle


Staff of the Office of the President (OP) on secondment to former president Ian Khama’s office say their work environment is the most frustrating because of the toxic relationship between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Khama.
The officers say both parties are unfair to them because each office expects them to be loyal in spite of their opposed agendas.
Ordinarily, the staff should be under the direction of the former president with the OP in the role of facilitator. Since the onset of the animus between the two men, the staff say they are trapped in the hostile environment in which they often receive warnings and undergo disciplinary hearings.
More at risk are Khama’s security staff who are members of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) and his Senior Private Secretary who are right at the coalface of the situation by virtue of their jobs.
Each of them has once or twice been on the wrong end of the stick “for insubordination or having flouted the rules”.
On some occasions, DISS officers seconded to Khama have been transferred for placing his instructions over those of their employer.
An incident yesterday may highlight the plight of this odd cohort of public servants. The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng, was holding forth in Parliament giving the impression that Khama’s Senior Private Secretary had knowingly sidestepped procedure and normal practice by issuing a press release on Khama’s trip instead of first writing to the OP.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the staffers say when they do something in favour of the former president, it is merely due to his position as their immediate supervisor. “We have tried to explain this to our employers but they keep instructing us to ignore Khama and instead take their orders,” said one.
“But who ignores an elder of Khama’s status? It is so unfair on us and the painful thing is when you are threatened with a disciplinary hearing or dismissal. Sometimes you just feel like a transfer is the best option.”
Of late both parties have reportedly taken to seeking to extract information on each about the other from them. “And when you have nothing to share, you appear as though you are hiding something or are sympathetic to the one or the other camp.”
Another said the intensity of their frustrations is a measure of the intensity of the animosity between the two men. “Going to work in the morning feels like going to prison,” said this source. “When two bulls fight, the grass is the one that suffers.”
“We are always on edge and of late we do not even know whether we are safe because we find ourselves caught in a colossal conflict and unsettling conspiracies.”
Khama left on his latest trip without his state security detail after he reportedly told them that he no longer trusted them in light of rumours that he is to be eliminated. The staffers say these allegations are making their lives all the more difficult.
Yet another staff member queried: “Because trust has collapsed, how do you continue to service dutifully in an environment where you are not trusted? In addition to everything else, our employer expects us to give daily reports of what goes on at the former president’s home.”