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Thursday, 30 November 2023

BOFEPUSU’s 2021 fresh promises to workers


Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal (BOFEPUSU) has come up with yet another promises to uplift the working class in Botswana, and ultimately reach its decent work aspirations. BOFEPUSU launched a new Workers Charter which entails all the affirmations on national socio-economic issues, labour employment and future of work as well as issues of second general rights.

In this Workers Charter, the Federation says it believes in the struggle for workers’ rights, democracy and good governance beyond a political space and shall seek to influence the social, political and economic agenda of Botswana.

On its position on working class ideological consciousness and standing, BOFEPUSU rejected the narrow and traditional liberal perspectives that assume trade unions as just any other competing “interest groups” seeking legitimacy mechanisms- laws, institutions- to allow for their mediation and resolution of their interests.

The Federation says it appreciate legal labour frameworks and regimes that promote traditional social dialogue and collective bargaining, but it is of the view that these are limited, meaning that they may enhance workers’ working conditions in specific work environments.

“We are therefore are persuaded and guided by the beliefs in a much broader radical perspective that views the central role of the working class as both a subject and object of historical development and the possibilities of social justice. We see working class labour not as a commodity because workers create wealth and that work is basis of life and expression of that life.”

BOFEPUSU proclaims that the objectives and interests of working class are by their nature political and brings the Federation into the region of politics human liberation and social justice. In discharging their functions, BOFEPUSU says it shall not operate only on social, economic and civic fronts, saying it shall secure the political front too. In tripartite structures, the Federation says it shall seek to influence government policy decisions in the interests of workers.

In Botswana, the legislative framework acknowledges the right to form a union is, but the government places restrictions on who can strike. The Trade Dispute Act was amended in 2016 to include teachers, diamond cutters, and veterinarians among those providing “essential services” who are not legally allowed to strike. Owing to the limitations placed on the right to strike, the government declares strike action as illegal, and employment can be terminated for their participation.

BOFEPUSU (a Federation which subscribes to the core trade union values of freedom of association), acknowledges that these core values are potent instruments that promote decent terms and conditions of work and can achieve harmony between workers and employers in the workplace.

Therefore, the trade union pronounces that there shall be no restrictions on the rights of workers to organize themselves into trade unions in Botswana, and that trade union organization shall be based on the principles of strength and the Federation shall seek to amalgamate unions in sectoral and strong unions in similar occupations.

Furthermore, the Federation says modern trade unionism should be based on the democratization of trade unions to entrench members’ control and shall advance and promote workers’ democracy and control through effective workers participation in defense of their rights.

It affirms that trade unions and their affiliates shall be completely independent and answerable only to the decisions of their members democratically arrived at.

“BOFEPUSU proclaims that it shall strive to ensure that union rivalry and splinters are minimized and a sense of the unity of purpose is cultivated in all its affiliates and the labour movement in Botswana. Further, seek, where possibly, encourage amalgamation of trade unions that have homogeneous membership composition and similar aspirations to strengthen the national structures so as to counter divide-rule of labour in Botswana and beyond.”

Encouraging continuous capacity building among membership and union leadership to enhance their knowledge and skills in negotiations and conflict resolution and management, as well as endeavoring that trade unions provide workers education for members to understand the exercise of their constitutional obligation are some of the promises that BOFEPUSU wants to come up with, as its position on workers control and democracy.

The progressive expansion of labour education and the improvement in its range and quality should be at the center of any of the BOFEPUSU activities, the Federation said. The development of well-trained labour officials, BOFEPUSU clarified, should therefore be regarded as a precondition for enhancement and growth of labour movement in Botswana.

“This is because education and training determines the frontiers of transformation of the labour movement in the country. Education can shape the overall competitiveness of the labour movement within all the spheres of social dialogue. It remains a key enabler to the labour movement’s collective resolve to fight workers’ rights as they advance the agenda for decent work.”

BOFEPUSU indicated that workers education shall revolve around union members in all aspects of their working life including improving their civic life, awareness in the environment around them, enhancement of their knowledge particularly in regard to issues that concern them, their statutory and other rights and responsibilities, workers’ participation scheme, and procedure for redressing their grievances.”


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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