The Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has resolved to stick with their lawyer Martin Dingake after he received ample vitriol for representing the mega union.
Dingake also did not flinch in the face of criticism and continued rendering legal services to BOPEU. The majority of his detractors came from his fellow opposition formations. The plot thickened this week when Dingake sparred against Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) president, Advocate Duma Boko who represented BOFEPUSU in the stay of execution case launched by BOPEU on Wednesday.
The furor was triggered by the fact that Dingake is a known Botswana Congress Party (BCP) functionary but agreed to represent a trade union largely viewed as in practice of yellow trade unionism in a battle with the rival and more anti-government Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU). BOFEPUSU comprises of Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Manual Workers Union, BLLAHWU and the Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU).
BCP is a contracting partner in the nascent opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which is allied to BOFEPUSU. BOPEU was once a member of BOFEPUSU but it has since de-affiliated and went on to join the latter’s rival, Botswana Federations of Trade Unions (BFTU). BOPEU disaffiliated from BOFEPUSU in December 2015 after the membership greenlighted the move at its Palapye congress. 226 BOPEU members voted for the decision, while 36 voted against and 11 were neutral. In the current case Botswana National Front leader and UDC president Duma Boko was leading the charge arguing for BOFEPUSU.
Members had argued then that there was no point for the union to continue the relationship with the federation as it does not serve any purpose. “Our union was always side-lined during what went on at the federation so there was no need for us to continue working with people who did not want us. The problem with BOFEPUSU leadership is that they want to have control over how their affiliate unions are run,” one member was quoted in the media at the congress.
In February 2015, BOPEU pulled out of BOFEPUSU election citing the unavailability of a report of audited financial statements. BOPEU then suspended their subscription to the federation after it had sought to increase subscription from P1.00 per member to P2.00 per month. Media reports stated that the disaffiliation of BOPEU meant that BOFEPUSU stood to lose P336 000 on an annual basis as subscriptions. BOPEU paid a monthly subscription fee of P28 000 per month. Currently BOPEU has 28 000 members and they consider themselves the biggest public sector union in the country.
However, even though he was part of BOPEU team the arguments were made by attorney Friday Leburu. Dingake’s sympathisers argued that he should be allowed to practice law professionally without allowing his political dispositions clouding him. However, his more hardline and leftists detractors maintained an uncompromising stance seeing his alliance with BOPEU as ganging up on BOFEPUSU, which is seen as responsive to worker’s needs and seen as a darling of the leftists.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.