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.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.