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BOPEU powered BFTU hold first congress

The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions’ (BFTU) elective congress scheduled for month-end in Palapye which will be the first since Botswana Public Officers Union (BOPEU) became a member, will most likely be the game changer.

The federation looks set to emerge from the congress with a substantially transformed new leadership, possibly dominated by faces from their new affiliate, BOPEU, whose arrival was hailed as a big catch. BOPEU is the biggest affiliate, followed by Botswana Mine Workers Union. Other federation member unions are small unions from marginalized sectors.

A pointer to BOPEU’s ambitions to wield much control in the federation is said to have been noted recently at a BFTU general council meeting which was held at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng. One of the senior members in the federation who attended the Oasis Motel meeting has said that BOPEU’s fledging of muscle became apparent, much to the worry of other federation members.

As a classic use of its numerical strength, BOPEU is feared to have cut deals with small federation union members where they (small unions) will support BOPEU in all positions it wants and that in turn, BOPEU will also vote for them in positions they are vying for. “It is becoming clearer every day that BOPEU wants to make good use of their numerical strength in the federation to win all top positions,” the insider who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal revealed.

The general fear enveloping the federation is that once BOPEU takes over the control of the federation, it may be tempted to rekindle its fight with its rival, Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU). According to sources, positions BOPEU is gunning for include that of the Vice Presidency, which they have put up Martin Gabobake for; that of Secretary General, which they have put up Thusang Butale for. Butale is unopposed.

If BOPEU is to carry the day when congress ends, then the biggest loser will be the current Secretary General, Gadzani Mhotsha, who is currently regarded as the most influential person within the federation. He would be easily remembered for his most recent public spat with BOFEPUSU officials at Geneva during the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference.

It is understood that BOPEU wants a President whom they can easily control and it is for this reason that they have approached the sitting President, Bohithetswe Lentswe and asked that he defends his position against three contenders, namely Jack Tlhagale, Allan Keitseng and Mhotsha.

“We will be going for the elections and I am standing with other three for the Presidency. We will be using proportional representation unlike equal representation we have been using. This is so because unions don’t have equal membership like in the past. What I can tell you as there is no beef between members, the bigger picture is the federation,” BFTU SG Mhotsha said when asked about the emanating conflicts between unions.

BOPEU Secretary Topias Marenga has also denied their use of numerical strength to capture BFTU. “Those are just speculations we have our own nominees in VP and SG those are the only big positions that could be talked about of course one of our own is contending for regional coordinator in Maun. We don’t want to capture BFTU,” he said.

Information reaching this publication suggests that Lentswe had previously indicated that he would not contest for any position in the congress in order to pave way for the new era of leadership. He has since changed tune and now wants to defend his position. More Information, though unconfirmed, is that he has been convinced by BOPEU top brass to defend the position.

Although BOPEU top brass will likely have their way and be part of the new leadership, some of the members of the union are of the view that this will polarize the federation that they recently joined. Speaking to WeekendPost, BOPEU members who cannot be named revealed that it would be unfair for the union to push Mhotsha aside given that he took blows for BOPEU to be admitted into the federation. “He became unpopular within the federation for his relentless push for BOPEU to be finally accepted by other BFTU affiliates,” a Gaborone region member stated.

Information gathered by this publication is to the effect that upon realizing BOPEU’s ‘evil’ intentions, small unions within the federation are now working on a counter strategy that will see some compromises being made ahead of the congress. A plan is being hatched and requests are being made to other unions especially those with candidates for the federation presidency to rally behind Mhotsha on what has been coined as a plan to save BFTU.

The other affiliates are worried that BOPEU wants to control the federation through other unions which it is busy trying to capture. This, according to those not amused by the move will surrender the federation’s responsibility into a single union, thereby subjecting it to organizational abuse. 

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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