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The Botswana National Front (BNF) is a mass movement formed in 1965 and its main objective was to unite the splinter parties from the Botswana Peoples Party. Several attempts were done during this time and the BNF continued to preach unity amongst opposition parties. The formation of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was a welcome development as BNF dream was achieved. With the coming on board of the Botswana Congress Party into the UDC fold, there is only one opposition strong party that is going to remove the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in 2019. The BNF strongly believes in the current ongoing mediation efforts by UDC and is very confident that a long lasting solution will be reached.
The BNF would therefore like to caution BOSETU members to focus on the big picture of regime change in 2019 and not to be distracted by the social media and some local newspaper speculations that a new party is being formed. The BNF is happy with the positive progress being made at the UDC mediation efforts as the BMD Ndaba Gaolathe committee has already been met and the Sidney Pilane led committee will be met soon between the 4th and 6th September. The BNF still upholds the BOFEPUSU principled position of politically punishing those who dare leave the UDC project. This principle was aptly applied in 2014 and BCP was given a taste of that as they were not in UDC. The BNF therefore calls upon BOSETU members to focus and aim for the big picture (2019) and not be swayed by unfounded speculations of a new party as one of the BMD’s new committee (Ndaba led) has even made it clear that they are committed to the mediation efforts.
This BNF solidarity statement is on the backdrop of BOSETU theme that bemoans challenges bedevilling the bargaining council: Teacher Trade Unions Championing Educators Rights in the Midst of Collective Bargaining Challenges in Botswana. The BNF believes the solution to the Bargaining Council (BC) challenges and other national issues is regime change which can only be achieved by a united opposition. It is the duty of the government to provide a conducive working and living conditions of the workers through legislation and policies. We have instead seen the government disrespecting the same laws she has established like the Trade Disputes Act (amended to make teachers and other cadres essential services against ILO standards); Public Service Act (led to the collapse of Bargaining Council as government disrespected its provisions); BEC case (government amending it to force teachers to invigilate and mark external examinations despite the 2009 judgment that stated that it is not the duty of teachers). The Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) also recommended in 1994 that a package of incentives be created for teachers as a way of motivating and boosting their morale. The government has refused to provide these incentives and has since destroyed the only platform (BC) to negotiate the conditions.
Regime Change is therefore the only solution to teachers’ and other national long unresolved challenges. The BNF continues to pursue and preach its own theme: “Ensuring Unity Now and UDC Victory in 2019. We are therefore committed to the UDC unity which will unseat the BDP in 2019. VIVA BOSETU VIVA
Presented by BNF Information and Publicity Secretary, Justin Hunyepa