â€¨BOPEU which has not been a member of the PSBC after withdrawing its membership from BOFEPUSU, has finally audited its membership as per the requirements to qualify for the application of entry into PSBC.
The new president of BOPEU, Masego Mogwera, has indicated during the recent BOPEU media briefing that “we are ready to join PSBC and we will submit our documents for application once the current PSBC, BOFEPUSU and Government standoff is complete.” Mogwera also noted that the membership of BOPEU stands at 34000 hence surpassing the 26000 figure required for admission by the PSBC constitution. This makes BOPEU the single largest trade union in the country.
The Public Service Bargaining Council has been a subject of numerous court cases and counter legal presentations. This has resulted in halting of its operations and the subsequent halt of salary increase negotiations. BOFEPUSU is currently touring the country in a bid to update its members on the developments at the PSBC.
The blame game continues with the Government accusing BOFEPUSU of dragging the PSBC matter out of proportion and hence denying workers the salary increment. On the other hand, BOFEPUSU is pointing a finger at the Government that it is hell bent on rendering PSBC ineffective and ungovernable.
By joining PSBC, BOPEU, which was instrumental in the formation of the PSBC, will be allocated seats along with other BOFEPUSU members being; Botswana Teachers Union, Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union, Manual Workers Union and Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU).
This composition will bring an end to over a year dramatic power struggle between BOPEU and BOFEPUSU which saw the non BOFEPUSU members not benefiting from the 3% government windfall which Government was quick to label as a salary adjustment rather than an increase.
What remains to be concluded is whether the non BOFEPUSU members who have been allocated a 3% will be made at par with their colleague once the PSBC negotiations are complete, or the pay structure shall continue to be in the 3% disparity after BOFEPUSU had applied for a court interdict to halt the unilateral awarding of 3% salary increase across board citing lacking of consultation.
The court agreed with BOFEPUSU but rather in a wide deliberation issued judgment that the Government should not increase salaries for BOFEPUSU members but that the employer is at liberty to effect salary increase for non BOFEPUSU members. This then created the 3% disparity within the civil service salaries.
The 3% salary increase was also not extended to those who hold membership of more than one trade union. Such employees, though are able to enjoy and benefit from the services of all trade unions they are members, are however not considered when membership audit of the PSBC is done for purposes of the 2600 threshold required for entry into PSBC.
Masego Mogwera has also indicated that it is not up to her to return BOPEU to the membership of BOFEPUSU as such a decision was a congress decision and only BPEU congress has the power to reverse its decisions. Mogwera continue that “BOPEU is lead and managed through its constitution. My role is to adhere to the same constitution and implement resolutions of our members. It is not my role to issue resolutions and thus the question of whether BOPEU shall return to BOFEPUSU or not is beyond me”.
Mogwera, who is also the former president of BOFEPUSU rubbished allegations that BOFEPUSU funded her campaign leading to the BOPEU 2015 Congress in Palapye. She further told this publication that it is news to her that BOFFEPUSU funded her campaign and that “such might be wishes of people I do not even know”.
Amongst the reasons advanced my members of BOPEU when it pulled out of BOFEPUSU was that BOFEPUSU has become too much of a political organisation than a trade union which could create animosity between members of trade union movement. BOPEU members also lamented the lack of auditing books of accounts at BOFEPUSU which has not been done since formation of BOFEPUSU. BOFEPUSU, which announced months ago that it has completed its audit process is yet to make its audit report public.
Masego Mogwera, takes over the BOPEU presidency from Andrew Motsamai who was the inaugural president of BOPEU until his resignation from the Government which effectively meant that he resigns as President of BOPEU. Motsamai led BOPEU from its days as the Botswana Civil Service Association and transformed it into the modern day BOPEU with a massive investment arm and subsidiaries including Education, Merchandise, Tourism, Agriculture, Banking etcetera.
The change of guard at BOPEU is that Martin Onalenna Gabobake has taken over as First Deputy President, a position left vacant by Masego Mogwera’s ascendance to the Presidency. Matildah Ogaufi Masame has retained her positon as Second Deputy president responsible for gender and youth affairs.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.