The Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has moved swiftly to fill the vacant post of head of education, training & research. Kago Mokotedi, a well know Botswana National Front (BNF) young gun, who has been at the top of opposition youth politics for some time will now occupy the converted post at BOPEU Labour College.
The post became available after the union decided to part ways with its former head, Edward Tswaipe after the disciplinary committee found him guilty of serious misconduct. The veteran unionist was charged with serious misconduct by the union for sharing information he acquired by virtue of his employment.
According to a letter making part of court documents, the allegations of misconduct relate to, “breach of contract of employment by disclosing confidential information to third parties without authority”.
Mokotedi, an Attorney by training, has also practiced as a part time lecturer at Ba Isago University. He has held several leadership positions in opposition politics especially during his days at the University of Botswana where he served as Student Representative Council (SRC) president and also Minister of Justice at two different intervals.
The young BNF firebrand is known for expressing his views freely where need be and his most recent political overture was a contest for the presidency of the BNF Youth League presidency which he lost to another firebrand, and long-time political rival, Khumoekae Richard.
The decision to employ Mokotedi could well throw out of the window suggestions that BOPEU has been captured by government operatives. BOPEU, a former affiliate of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) withdrew from the Federation following a congress resolution renouncing active participation in partisan politics by the union.
It has since had a bitter-sweet relationship with the other affiliates of BOFEPUSU. Mokotedi is a known protagonist of regime change and member of the BNF, the anchor member of the opposition bloc, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) which seeks to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019.
Mokotedi joins the BOPEU college at a time when Unions are faced with the effects of globalization, attacks on their existence by supporters of neo-liberalism, rapidly changing technology in the workplace, undemocratic global governing bodies and expanding informal economies in which people try to make a living as best they can, as well as other challenges such as the worst forms of child labour among others.
He is expected to advance effective union education and improving the funding of union education, linking it to labour research and workplace issues, making it relevant to a broader spectrum of working people, updating its methodologies and training its practitioners to create new knowledge it needs to face the challenges ahead.
Mokotedi will create a baseline of information on existing structures, programmes and personnel and identifying union education needs at all levels in the labour movement;
Among other roles at the BOPEU Labour College, Mokotedi is expected to encourage innovative pedagogical approaches, delivery instruments and partnerships which promote the creation of new educational programmes, curricula and course materials based on the needs and aspirations of workers and their unions.
“We expect him to lead the way in developing union education networks for knowledge sharing, capacity building and influencing social and economic policies; initiating union education activities to promote the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda,” said Masego Mogwera, BOPEU’s first Vice President. She confirmed Mokotedi’s employment to this publication this week.
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.