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 Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.