The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) this week revealed that it does not guarantee any support for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the 2019 general elections.
BOFEPUSU, which backed the UDC in the October general elections and helped it win a record 17 seats in parliament, this week announced that it is not a foregone conclusion that the UDC will still enjoy its support in the 2019 general elections as any future collaboration will be based on the conduct of the opposition between now and 2019.
“Our arrangement with the UDC was never meant to be permanent. We resolved to support a united opposition after realizing that the current regime does not have the interest of workers at heart. They undermined structures such as the bargaining council and workers in Botswana decided it was important to vote for a united opposition,” said a BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari
Rari added that BOFEPUSU will be monitoring the UDC’s performance and that of other political parties in parliament, which will inform their decision on future collaboration.
“We will be watching closely to see what motions they put forward as well as their questions and interjections in relation to the needs of workers. We understand that UDC is not in power, but they have the numbers and their efforts have to be visible,” he said.
He added that BOFEPUSU has no qualms with cooperating with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) or any other party that demonstrates commitment to improving the welfare of workers.
“If they show that they have the interests of workers at heart then we will encourage our members to vote for them,” he said.
Ahead of the 2014 general elections, BOFEPUSU declared support for the UDC because it had united three opposition parties in Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Workers heeded BOFEPUSU’s call and voted for the UDC in large numbers. Together with other leaders of the Federation, BOFEPUSU’s National Labor Secretary, Johnson Motshwarakgole was a regular feature at UDC rallies where he denounced the BDP for oppressing workers and the opposition BCP for failing to support opposition unity.