The crusade by the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPESU) to remove some Members of Parliament and ministers hostile to their course from political office has taken an interesting twist. The Minister of Presidential affairs of “ke ngwana wa lelope” (I am the child of a bootlicker) fame, Mokgweetsi Masisi has come under fire from the federation which is lobbying for his removal through primary elections. BOFEPUSU further claims that it engineered the fall of most Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primaries losers.
Addressing a press conference yesterday (Monday), BOFEPUSU labour secretary Johnson Motshwarakgole said civil servants have the right to register and vote. He said that civil servants ought to save themselves and make the right decision when they cast their votes. The veteran unionist said the federation is keeping a close eye in the elections from the primaries to the general elections to make sure that all the parliamentarians who have failed the workers are ousted.
“We believe that in 2014 Batswana will vote a government to power but the civil servants will not only vote to power a government but a government that will be their employer. We cannot live in a state where bootlicking is encouraged, unions detest it,” Motshwarakgole said referring to Masisi.
“We are appealing to the civil servants that when they vote they should not vote for bootlickers. A bootlicker is someone who cannot be given votes,” he added.
BOFEPUSU secretary General Tobokani Rari said the trend that developed in the BDP primary elections is clear evidence that the civil servants will judge the ministers and MPs on their merits and act.
Rari said that civil servants have been carefully listening to what has been said by political leaders adding that BDP primaries outcome has largely been determined by the labour movement. He said that since 2011 workers have changed in their political consciousness judging by the BDP primaries in which their relatives voted against enemies of labour.
Rari also crushed the President’s state of the nation address saying it had nothing to offer civil servants. “He could have addressed the state of the negotiations and bargaining in Botswana. The Public Services Act provides that the government has to negotiate with trade unions. It is clear that the bargaining council is not functioning,” Rari argued.
“He didn’t say anything about the bargaining council. The only thing that the president addressed about labour issues was that trade unions owe returns. We think this was a petty issue and it was an issue for the office of the registrar of the trade unions,” he said.
Rari argues that Khama should have said how the inflation accumulated in the last five years has affected the workers and what plans he has to address it. He said that the President failed to tell Batswana when the dispute resolution mechanism of Botswana will be independent contending further that the Commissioner of Labour is a government employee who has difficulties in dealing with cases involving government.