BOPEU official suspended for Facebook post

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Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President Masego Mogwera has slapped one of the Union’s officials, James Moduka, with a suspension from Union membership following the latter’s Facebook commentary.

In a letter dated 10 August 2018 and hand delivered to Moduka who is a shop steward (employees’ representative) at the Ministry of Finance, the BOPEU president states that it had come to her attention that ‘‘you caused to be published on Facebook a communique purporting to give an update to BOPEU members on the on-going legal case. This is in contravention of BOPEU’s constitution as the President or her delegate is the Chief spokesperson of the Union. You were not delegated such authority’’.

Mogwera noted that the utterances in the purported statement are disparaging to the image and interests of BOPEU. She indicated that Moduka’s conduct amounts to serious misconduct in terms of Article 48 of BOPEU constitution.

‘‘Further, by this letter, in exercise of Article 47.4 of BOPEU constitution, suspends you from all Union activities pending a decision by the NEC on your conduct’’, Mogwera informed Moduka.

The Botswana Gazette was able to trace Moduka’s ‘offending’ Facebook post which he had posted on August 10 at 6:56 AM. Titled ‘‘Update to BOPEU members’’, the post read,  ‘‘The case in which members of NEC are trying to interdict Cde Mogwera the first union president to second herself to the union since its formation commenced yesterday at Lobatse High Court. Ruling on Urgency of the case will be delivered next week Friday at 10am. The dates for hearing the merits will be set if the case is urgent according to the judgement, if not, the case will follow the normal court schedule which might be next year’’.

Moduka continued, ‘‘Nonetheless, we have a case and our attorney has proven beyond reasonable doubt that it’s an urgent case, their attorney even helped us by contradicting himself saying there’s a lot to be done in the process like complying with other regulations such as NBIFIRA and others. This on its own demonstrates that indeed the case is urgent because we cannot keep on entrusting people who have proven that they are untrustworthy with our finances. We were also relying on section 44 and 39 of the Trade Union and Employers organisation Act for the interdict. We still appeal to the members to remain resolute as the NEC members traverse this very difficult road in an endeavour to protect your hard earned money. Fighting a syndicate of financial embezzlement is more than fighting evil. We need prayers from members’’.

In an interview with this publication on Monday morning, Moduka confirmed his suspension which he described as a desperate move by Mogwera to purge all those she perceives to be her detractors. He said he was surprised that Mogwera is busy waging war against members while the Union is still seized with a serious matter before the courts to determine a way forward in the leadership crisis that has hit BOPEU.