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BOFEPUSU guns for Masisi again

SECRETARY FOR LABOUR: Motshwarakgole

The Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) is laying plans for the downfall of Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the run up to the ruling party congress due in two Months’ time.


In a bitter raw over the government’s u-turn on the outsourcing of the Public Service employees motor vehicle loan scheme, GEMVAS, the senior leaders of the union say they would do anything within their power to make sure that Masisi does not become the next chairperson of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).


‘’If we let Masisi win the chairmanship of the BDP, he would become a problem for all of us. We have to launch a battle to get rid of him,” pointed out BOFEPUSU’s secretary for Labour affairs, Johnson Motshwarakgole.


The beef, according to Motshwarakgole is that Masisi is the man behind the government’s decision to take away GEMVAS from Unigem, a company whose shareholding includes that of BOFEPUSU union members. BOPEU is the only union members that sold its Unigem shares sometime last year before the government decided to take control of the loan scheme, GEMVAS.


The union alleges that Masisi is influencing the government to take over the scheme because he believes that UNIGEM is making a lot of money and has been sponsoring a series of court cases which BOFEPUSU previously launched against government.


The government has announced that it would be taking over the scheme by the beginning of next month just a few months after Unigem purchased a million Pula system to improve the running of the scheme. By Friday afternoon, the Union Lawyers were drafting a statutory notice and planning to file an urgent application before the High court in an attempt to stop the government’s in its tracks.


According to the Federation’s Deputy Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, the scheme has been running smoothly under Unigem and therefore there cannot be any professional or administrative reason for the government to take over the scheme as it lacks capacity and skills to run it and the only logical explanation to the takeover is politically motivated.


Motshegwa’s take is that the government is unleashing an economic unholy war against unions.


“We are engaged in a terrain where there is violence against civil rights. The only valid reason is that as a country we are sliding towards autocratic tendencies and we need a vibrant civil society to rise against these ills,” Motshegwa spoke out.


The most immediate solution to this problem according to the unionists, is to go to court and challenge government on this matter and influence the BDP members not to vote for Masisi.


 “He (Masisi) is the one spearheading the GEMVAS in-sourcing such that by the 1st of June, 2015, it would be totally under the control of government …We disqualify Masisi because if he succeeds Khama as the next President he would be a much worse dictator than him,” Motshwarakgole further added before saying that as such he wants Masisi not to become the country’s President.


Speaking at a media briefing in Gaborone on Friday this week Motshwarakgole further explained that Masisi was an enemy of labour movements and a threat to the country’s tranquil.

 
Political comments have landed the union Secretary generals in trouble with the employer in the past but the federations’s Secretary General Tobokani Rari maintains that it is the right of the civil society to participate in selecting its leaders because at the end of it all, the elected rules over everybody.


BOFEPUSU’s plan remains to be tested though as they have failed to bring Masisi down in two occasions, that is, during the primary elections preceding the 2014 general elections and during the general elections last October.


However the0020union maintains that they would have brought him down hadn’t he stopped the civil service employees from voting in the primary elections.

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