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Masisi meets Opposition, Trade Unions leaders

Publishing Date : 09 July, 2018


In nation building exercise, President Mokgweetsi Masisi is scheduled to meet Trade Union and opposition parties’ leaders next week, as part of mending relations by reaching consensus on matters of mutual interest.

Briefing the media this week, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, accompanied by Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi, stated that President Mokgweetsi Masisi would next week Thursday meet with leaders of other political parties to have a conversation. Prior to that, Masisi will meet the leadership of public sector unions on Tuesday to also discuss issues surrounding concerns that have been raised by trade union over the last 10 years.

Government has had a turbulent relationship with the workers in the last few years resulting in the infamous 2011 public servants strike in which hundred thousands of employees took to the streets to protest government’s refusal to increase their salaries. In the ensuing circumstances government fired a significant number of employees, who were deemed to have breached their employment contracts.


Although there are no records indicating the year of its establishment, All Party Conference was active during President Sir Ketumile Masire’s presidency, playing a major role in the 1997 constitutional reforms which brought among others;  10 year limit to presidential term, automatic succession and reduction of voting age from 21 years to 18 years.

However, for the past 10 years, All Party Conference never convened despite several interested parties stating the need to do so to discuss issues surrounding politics, the most recent being the introduction of new electoral reforms that ushered in controversial developments such as the Electoral Voting Machine (EVM) as well as cancellation of supplementary registration for voting. Tsogwane has however downplayed the decision not to convene the conference during Masisi’s predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama’s tenure.

Tsogwane said part of the problem was the fact that the legal framework did not have statutes that compel a president to convene the meetings. He said the conference met on the basis of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ based on issues that needed to be discussed. “The All Party Conference was therefore, for all intent and purposes, a consultative forum,” said Tsogwane. “The frequency of the meetings was informed by the need and meetings convened from time to time as the need arose.”

Tsogwane said it became a political norm in the past that the All Party Conference is held ahead of impending General Elections with a view to agree on improvements to the legal framework and strengthening of democracy. “Most of amendments to the Electoral Act then were as a result of this engagement amongst political players,” he said.

Masisi is scheduled to meet leaders of all political parties on Thursday next week, where it is expected that reforms regarding the All Party Conference functions. “In view of the limited scope of All Party Conference as per the legal framework, it is absolutely imperative to review its functions.”



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