A new scuffle has ensued between the Public Service Bargaining Council and the Botswana Federation of Public Sectors Union (BOFEPUSU) following the decision of the former not to oppose the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) application at the Industrial Court.
The Council is said to have met its attorney on 26th February 2016 to discuss the Interim Order issued by the Industrial Court Judge President on the matter and determined a way forward. Weekend Post has learnt that the Council believes that it was clear from the Interim Order that the admission of the trade union party was inconsistent with the PSBC Constitution hence it was not advisable for the Council to continue opposing the BOPEU application.
However BOFEPUSU holds a different view. According to our sources, the trade union party holds steadfastly that the PSBC passed a resolution to oppose the BOPEU application before the Industrial Court. This publication further gathered that the resolution was signed by both parties, and the General Secretary to the PSBC, and was filed with the Industrial Court.
The Council attorney who opposed the BOPEU application with all his energy a fortnight ago is said to have advised that he has put forward all that could be said and in light of the interim order, nothing more can be said on the 7th March 2016.
However, BOFEPUSU is adamant that the resolution to oppose BOPEU has never been cancelled or varied or amended by another resolution. The trade union party is further of the view that a decision not to oppose the BOPEU application will be flagrantly unlawful and a clear sign of insubordination on the part of the Council.
BOFEPUSU wants the PSBC to continue taking part in the proceedings – opposing BOPEU – until the final resolution of the matter.
BOPEU had approached the Industrial Court last month in a bid to have rival BOFEPUSU removed from the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). The development followed BOPEU’s recent resolution taken at its congress at Palapye to withdraw its affiliation from the Federation, BOFEPUSU. Consequently BOPEU also pulled out of the joint agreement with BOFEPUSU at the Bargaining Council and therefore is currently not part of PSBC as they had prior communicated to the latter.
Last month the Industrial Court agreed to temporarily interdict the PSBC from proceeding with the 2016/17 salary and conditions of service negotiations, pending the conclusion of the matter on March 7.
In the matter, BOPEU had prayed that the court declare that BOFEPUSU (as a federation) is not entitled to be admitted into the membership of the Bargaining Council.
BOFEPUSU comprises of Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Education Trade Union (BOSETU), and Botswana Manual Workers and Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU).
A Gaborone based attorney Martin Letsweletse Dingake last week stated that the interim judgement by Justice Tebogo Maruping of the Industrial court in “is the beginning of the end for the public sector unions”.
He said it was important to note that our law on industrial relations as regards to the public service is still being shaped. “The dispute provides an opportunity for the parties to shape this aspect of the law,” Dingake said.
“There is a greater possibility that the membership and composition of the PSBC could be set aside. That is the last order any of the parties would want. So we are likely to go back to the pre 2008 days before the new Public Service Act,” he said.
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.