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BOPEU not re-joining BOFEPUSU- Mogwera

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) interim President, Masego Mogwera has stated that her union will not re-join Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Union (BOFEPPPUSU) any time soon or until such a time the membership resolves to do so.


Mogwera, who ascended to the top position following the departure of long time serving president, Andrew Motsamai, told a press conference this week that a lot will remain the same under her leadership. ‘The decision to leave BOFEPPPUSU is a 2015 congress resolution,” she said, “Until such a time that the congress makes another resolution to re-join BOFEPPPUSU,  BOPEU will not rejoin.”


Motsamai has left the presidency to take up a post in the commercial wing of the union, as Executive Chairman. In the run up to the 2015 Palapye congress, long time soul mates, Motsamai and Mogwera found themselves on opposite sides.   It is reported that Mogwera was against the idea of BOPEU de-affiliating from BOFEPPPUSU while Motsamai led the campaign to take BOPEU out of the federation.  


At the time the conflict was over BOFEPPUSU’s decision to support a newly formed opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) at a disadvantage of other contesting parties, Botswana Congress Party and Botswana Democratic Party. BOFEPPPUSU apparently did so to safe guard its interest by supporting leadership which was pro-federation.

 

The union played a big role in the formation of the UDC ahead of the 2014 general elections, but after BCP pulled out from the unity negotiations (building up to UDC formation), talks of BOPEU’s intention to pull out from BOFEPPPUSU became rife, Motsamai, in particular is said to have initiated the idea.

 

However Mogwera allegedly held a different view, hence when the union went for its Palapye congress, there were reports that the federation was throwing its weight behind Mogwera and Sikalame Seitiso, who was then challenging Motsamai for Presidency. Both Seitiso and Mogwera were viewed as supporting the decision to continue being part of the federation.


The differences between Mogwera and Motsamai led to both contesting on opposite camps. The two were able to secure their seats at the congress. Mogwera defeated Motsamai’s ally, Tlotlang Bakoko to win the 1st Deputy President position. Motsamai on the other hand defeated Sikalame Seitiso for the presidency.


Both Mogwera and Seitiso were against BOPEU leaving BOFEPPPUSU but it was Motsamai’s team which garnered enough support for the de-affiliation, but now with Motsamai having left the leadership of the union, it is widely believed that Mogwera’s sympathetic stance on BOFEPPPUSU will set in motion a process which will lead to the union returning to the federation.


Mogwera played a sterling role in the establishment of BOFEPPPUSU and becoming its president for a period of 5 years. It was during Mogwera’s reign that BOFEPPPUSU engaged in the massive 2011 strike in which public servants downed tools for a period of two months. During that era, Motsamai was the federation’s secretary general.


Mogwera has however denied having knowledge of BOFEPPPUSU’s support ahead of the elections. BOFEPPPUSU had also at one point denied its involvement in the BOPEU elections. That notwithstanding, last year at the 2016 BOFEPPPUSU Special Congress held in Tlokweng at Oasis Motel, Labour Secretary, Motshwarakgole hinted to the delegates and leadership that the federation should not keep the door closed for its former affiliate.


Motswarakgole was quoted as saying as the federation engaged in massive mobilisation in preparation for the crucial 2019 general elections, there is a need to extend an olive branch to the union. This was at the time Motsamai was still president of BOPEU.


MOTSAMAI/MOTSHWARAKGOLE FALL OUT


It has been widely reported that the fall out between veteran unionist and BOFEPPPUSU Labour Secretary, Johnson Motshwaragole, and his protégé Motsamai, led to the departure of BOPEU from the federation. Ever since the fallout BOPEU and BOFEPPUSU have been at loggerheads in the battle to outclass each other.


The two unions have been involved in squabbles, the latest being the bargaining council membership battle. The court has resulted in BOPEU bowing out of the council owing to its failure to meet the threshold needed to qualify for membership. Although Mogwera has stated that she would not singlehandedly take a decision to take BOPEU back to BOFEPPPUSU, that BOPEU was no longer part of the bargaining council would haunt her.


BOPEU was initially part of BOFEPUSU Acting Jointly Agreement, which allowed it to be part of the bargaining council as a result of Manual Workers Union, an affiliate of BOFEPPPUSU qualifying for the bargaining council membership. As things stand, Manual Workers Union is the only union which meets the threshold for bargaining council membership.


BCP INCLUSION IN THE UDC


Mogwera was part of the BOFEPPPUSU team which facilitated for the formation of a united opposition bloc. The idea of a united opposition was based on forming a political movement which will enjoy the backing of the working class and the trade union. However, Mogwera broke ranks with many when she distanced the federation from the hit-list prepared by his colleagues to de-campaign politicians who were viewed as not pro-workers. Among the list was BCP President, Dumelang Saleshando.


According to sources, Mogwera who is allegedly sympathetic to BCP reneged on the earlier promise because BCP withdrew from the coalition following the collapse of the initial talks. With BCP in the coalition, it is believed, BOPEU may loosen up on its decision to de-affiliate from BOFEPPPUSU.   

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

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.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

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.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

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.

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