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Sunday, 03 December 2023

BOFEPUSU shocked by BOPEU withdrawal


Botswana Federation of Public Union (BOFEPUSU) is still in shock over its affiliate Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU)’s decision to withdraw its subscription without advancing concrete reasons for leaving.

BOPEU has over the last two weeks discontinued engagement with BOFEPUSU on several matters including disinvesting from UNIGEM (Pty) Ltd, a company which was owned by among others the Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and National Amalgamated, Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU) which are all members of the BOFEPUSU.

However Andrew Motsamai, BOPEU President contend that the decision to disinvest from UNIGEM was purely a ‘business decision’ and has nothing to do with its relationship with its mother union.

BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari says they have received a letter from BOPEU informing them that the union leadership have reached a resolution to stop their monthly subscription to BOFEPUSU because its leadership attacked BOPEU in the media. “We are not aware of any instances where BOFEPUSU leadership attacked BOPEU through the media,” said Rari on the sidelines of former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Margret Nasha press conference on Thursday.

Rari said BOFEPUSU is of the view that, if BOPEU was aggrieved by the conduct of BOFEPUSU leadership it would have been beneficial if they raised such grievances rather than taking a drastic decision to leave. Rari, who is also the Secretary General for BOSETU told this publication that he will not say whether BOPEU decision to leave was constitutional or not as that could only, be revealed by BOPEU leadership itself.

Reports reaching Weekend Post indicate that Motsamai has over the past few months acted under duress from members of BOPEU Executive Committee who are said to be unhappy with BOFEPUSU’s decision to publicly declare their support for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ahead of the recent elections. Although Motsamai is perceived to be pro-UDC, some of his colleagues in committee have different political opinions.

At the beginning of 2012 following the collapse of Umbrella 1, Motsamai led a delegation which sought to revive the talks. BOFEPUSU leadership maintained that because of its role in the formation of UDC, it was compelling for the Federation to support the UDC ahead of the 2014 general elections. However, BOPEU developed a divergent view. When the decision to endorse UDC was taken by the leadership of BOFEPUSU, it is reported that BOPEU representatives walked away from the meeting in protest.  

Masego Mogwera, who is the Deputy President of BOPEU, had made it known just before of general elections that BOPEU will not support or fund any party. Mogwera who is seen as sympathetic to the ruling BDP is also the President of BOFEPUSU. Mogwera was instrumental in the ending of the 2011 industrial action in which public employees were protesting over 16% percent salary increment.

In August this year following the death of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Secretary General Gomolemo Motswaledi, BOFEPUSU convinced UDC leadership to field Motsamai as Motswaledi’s replacement in Gaborone Central constituency.  Motsamai withdrew following a stern resistance from BOPEU leadership over his candidature.

When contacted for comment BOPEU Secretary General, Topius Marenga swiftly dismissed reports that the union is on the verge of withdrawing from BOFEPUSU as an affiliate. He even noted that reports that BOPEU has stopped its monthly subscriptions are rubbish, “The formation of BOFEPUSU was led by BOPEU with a clear mandate and I can confirm that at no point has BOPEU reached any resolution to withdraw its affiliation status,” said Marenga.  

Marenga said BOPEU understands the gravity of the aftermath of the 2011 strike in which a significant number of their members lost their jobs. Marenga also denied reports that the union was divided over the endorsement of UDC ahead of the October polls noting that the union is committed to fight the cause which it started 2011. Marenga revealed that they are still bound by that resolution, what we differ with BOFEPUSU on is the approach of endorsing UDC.

“We are committed to moono but we did not want an explicit declaration that we support UDC. We want to be careful because we are public servants,” he said.

Following BOFEPUSU’s declaration that it will support UDC, Mogwera issued a press statement distancing the union from the position. Rari also issued a counter statement reminding Mogwera of the resolution taken by the union in her absence.   

BOFEPUSU vigorously campaigned for UDC and a few weeks ahead of general elections, the Federation released a list of a number of incumbent MPs not to be voted by the workers.

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19 Bokamoso Private Hospital nurses graduate at Lenmed Nursing College

28th November 2023

The graduation of 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College marks a significant milestone in their careers. These nurses have successfully completed various short learning programs, including Adult Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Nursing Care, Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing, Anaesthetic Nursing, and Recovery Room Nursing. The ceremony, held in Gaborone, was a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Lenmed Nursing College, a renowned healthcare group with a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana, has been instrumental in providing quality education and training to healthcare professionals. The Group Head of Operations, Jayesh Parshotam, emphasized the importance of upskilling nurses, who are at the forefront of healthcare systems. He also expressed his appreciation for the partnerships with Bokamoso Private Hospital, the Ministry of Health, and various health training institutes in Botswana.

Dr. Morrison Sinvula, a consultant from the Ministry of Health, commended Lenmed Health and Lenmed Nursing College for their commitment to the education and training of these exceptional nurses. He acknowledged their guidance, mentorship, and support in shaping the nurses’ careers and ensuring their success. Dr. Sinvula also reminded the graduates that education does not end here, as the field of healthcare is constantly evolving. He encouraged them to remain committed to lifelong learning and professional development, embracing new technologies and staying updated with the latest medical advancements.

Dr. Gontle Moleele, the Superintendent of Bokamoso Private Hospital, expressed her excitement and pride in the graduating class of 2023. She acknowledged the sacrifices made by these individuals, who have families and responsibilities, to ensure their graduation. Dr. Moleele also thanked Lenmed Nursing College for providing this opportunity to the hospital’s nurses, as it will contribute to the growth of the hospital.

The certificate recipients from Bokamoso Private Hospital were recognized for their outstanding achievements in their respective programs. Those who received the Cum Laude distinction in the Adult Intensive Care Unit program were Elton Keatlholwetse, Lebogang Kgokgonyane, Galaletsang Melamu, Pinkie Mokgosi, Ofentse Seboletswe, Gorata Basupi, Bareng Mosala, and Justice Senyarelo. In the Emergency Nursing Care program, Atlanang Moilwa, Bakwena Moilwa, Nathan Nhiwathiwa, Mogakolodi Lesarwe, Modisaotsile Thomas, and Lorato Matenje received the Cum Laude distinction. Kelebogile Dubula and Gaolatlhe Sentshwaraganye achieved Cum Laude in the Anaesthetic & Recovery Room Nursing program, while Keletso Basele excelled in the Anaesthetic Nursing program. Mompoloki Mokwaledi received recognition for completing the Recovery Room Nursing program.

In conclusion, the graduation of these 19 nurses from Bokamoso Private Hospital at Lenmed Nursing College is a testament to their dedication and commitment to their profession. They have successfully completed various short learning programs, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their respective fields. The collaboration between Lenmed Nursing College, Bokamoso Private Hospital, and the Ministry of Health has played a crucial role in their success. As they embark on their careers, these nurses are encouraged to continue their professional development and embrace new advancements in healthcare.

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BNF secures 15 constituencies in UDC coalition, wants more

28th November 2023

The Botswana National Front (BNF) has recently announced that they have already secured 15 constituencies in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, despite ongoing negotiations. This revelation comes as the BNF expresses its dissatisfaction with the current government and its leadership.

The UDC, which is comprised of the BNF, Botswana Peoples Party (BPP), Alliance for Progressives (AP), and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), is preparing for the upcoming General Elections. However, the negotiations to allocate constituencies among the involved parties are still underway. Despite this, the BNF Chairman, Patrick Molotsi, confidently stated that they have already acquired 15 constituencies and are expecting to add more to their tally.

Molotsi’s statement reflects the BNF’s long-standing presence in many constituencies across Botswana. With a strong foothold in these areas, it is only natural for the BNF to seek an increase in the number of constituencies they represent. This move not only strengthens their position within the UDC coalition but also demonstrates their commitment to serving the interests of the people.

In a press conference, BNF Secretary General, Ketlhafile Motshegwa, expressed his discontent with the current government leadership. He criticized the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) for what he perceives as a disregard for the well-being of the Batswana people. Motshegwa highlighted issues such as high unemployment rates and shortages of essential medicines as evidence of the government’s failure to address the needs of its citizens.

The BNF’s dissatisfaction with the current government is a reflection of the growing discontent among the population. The Batswana people are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the failure to address pressing issues. The BNF’s assertion that the government is playing with the lives of its citizens resonates with many who feel neglected and unheard.

The BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, even before the negotiations have concluded, is a testament to their popularity and support among the people. It is a clear indication that the Batswana people are ready for change and are looking to the BNF to provide the leadership they desire.

As the negotiations continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the interests of the people. The allocation of constituencies should be done in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that the voices of all citizens are represented. The BNF’s success in securing constituencies should serve as a reminder to the other parties of the need to listen to the concerns and aspirations of the people they aim to represent.

In conclusion, the BNF’s acquisition of 15 constituencies, despite ongoing negotiations, highlights their strong presence and support among the Batswana people. Their dissatisfaction with the current government leadership reflects the growing discontent in the country. As the UDC coalition prepares for the upcoming General Elections, it is crucial for all parties to prioritize the needs and aspirations of the people. The BNF’s success should serve as a reminder of the importance of listening to the voices of the citizens and working towards a better future for Botswana.








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Children’s summit to discuss funding of NGOS

21st November 2023

One of the key issues that will be discussed by the Childrens’ Summit, which will be hosted by Childline Botswana Trust on 28th – 30th November in Gaborone, will be the topical issue of financing and strengthening of civil society organizations.

A statement from Childline Botswana indicates that the summit will adopt a road map for resourcing the children’s agenda by funding organizations. It will also cover issues relating to child welfare and protection; aimed at mobilizing governments to further strengthen Child Helplines; as well as sharing of emerging technologies to enhance the protection of Children and promotion of their rights.

According to Gaone Chepete, Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement towards promoting practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.

“Child Helplines in the region meet on a bi-annual basis to reflect on the state of children; evaluate their contribution and share experiences and best practice in the provision of services for children,” said Chepete.

The financing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by the state or its functionaries has generated mixed reactions from within the civil society space, with many arguing that it threatened NGOs activism and operational independence.

In February 2019, University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo released a paper titled “State philanthropy: The demise of charitable organizations in Botswana,” in which he faulted then President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama for using charity for political convenience and annexing the operational space of NGOs.

“Civil society is the domain in which individuals can exercise their rights as citizens and set limits to the power of the state. The state should be developing capable voluntary organizations rather than emaciating or colonizing them by usurping their space,” argued Dipholo.

He further argued that direct involvement of the state or state president in charity breeds unhealthy competition between the state itself and other organizations involved in charity. Under these circumstances, he added, the state will use charity work to remain relevant to the ordinary people and enhance its visibility at the expense of NGOs.

“A consequence of this arrangement is that charitable organizations will become affiliates of the state. This stifles innovation in the sense that it narrows the ability of charitable organizations to think outside the box. It also promotes mono-culturalism, as the state could support only charitable organizations that abide by its wishes,” said Dipholo.

In conclusion, Dipholo urged the state to focus on supporting NGOs so that they operate in a system that combines philanthropic work and state welfare programs.

He added that state philanthropy threatens to relegate and render charitable organizations virtually irrelevant and redundant unless they re-engineer themselves.

Another University of Botswana (UB) academic, Professor Zibani Maundeni, opined that politics vitally shape civil society interaction; as seen in the interactions between the two, where there is mutual criticism in each other’s presence.

Over the years, NGOs have found themselves grappling with dwindling financial resources as donors ran out of money in the face of increased competition for financing. Many NGOs have also been faulted for poorly managing their finances because of limited strategic planning and financial management expertise. This drove NGOs to look to government for funding; which fundamentally altered the relationships between the two. The end result was a complete change in the operational culture of NGOs, which diminished their social impact and made them even more fragile. Increased government control through contract clauses also reduced NGOs activism and autonomy.

However, others believe that NGOs and government need each other, especially in the provision of essential services like child welfare and protection. Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Setlhabelo Modukanele said government considers NGOs as critical partners in development.

“We recognize the role that NGOs play a critical role in the country’s development agenda,” said Modukanele.

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