The Umbrella for Democratic Change (“UDC”) is deeply worried and concerned about the continued conduct of President Ian Khama and the Director of Public Service Management (“the DPSM”), Mr Carter Morupisi, over the Public Service Bargaining Council. Ever since its establishment, President Khama and his yes-man, Mr Morupisi, have been undermining the Bargaining Council in a manner only prevalent in countries led by dictators.
At the recent Botswana Democratic Party (“the BDP”) Congress, President Khama purported to rubbish the true reports in the media that he is a dictator. His advisers should advise him that one of the attributes of a dictator is the undermining of institutions established by parliament such as the Public Service Bargaining Council (“the Bargaining Council”). The PSBC was established in terms of section 50 (1) of the Public Service Act of 2008. It is therefore a creature of Parliament. If the President undermines it, it means he undermines Parliament itself. There is overwhelming evidence that the President and Carter Morupisi, one of his henchmen, have no regard whatsoever for Parliament. These are but some of the many instances where the two have undermined, and continue to undermine, an institution created by Parliament:
• On 7 November 2013 the High Court Judge Abednico Tafa granted the Botswana Federation of Public Sector (“BOFEPUSU”) an interim order against the DPSM, interdicting him from suspending his participation from the activities of the Bargaining Council. It is unprecedented in the civilized world that the employer party can, in a childish manner, suspend its activities from the all-important Bargaining Council just because it is angry that the union parties have made political statements against a ruling party.
• About two weeks ago, Minister of Labour, Edwin Batshu, was on record lambasting Carter Morupisi for undermining the Bargaining Council;
• President Khama has indicated in public that the Government will offer a maximum of 4% salary increment and no more. The above utterances by President Khama were made at, amongst other fora, Kgotla meetings such as in Kachikau on 26 March 2014 and aired on the BDP-controlled and abused Botswana Television and other state media ;
• The DPSM has issued a public communication on “Salary Adjustment to Certain Public Officers” in terms of which it communicates the Government’s proposal regarding the conditions of service of public servants which have been tabled for and are yet to be negotiated by the Bargaining Council;
• The DPSM has also issued Directive Number 1 of 2014 dated 31 March 2014 on adjustments of salaries of public servants, including those falling within the bargaining unit.
The above acts of the President and the DPSM Head provide the best evidence that President Khama is a dictator par excellence contrary to his baseless denials in front of the slogan-shouting party members and stooges whom Mma Nasha has correctly accused of misleading him in her now-reknowned book, MADAM SPEAKER, SIR. A leader who not only disrespects a statutorily established body like the Bargaining Council but also makes adverse decisions which impact negatively on its image is no doubt a dictator and there is no need to apologise for calling him such. It is fair comment. It is clear that President Khama’s and Carter Morupisi’s intention is to annihilate the democratically-established Bargaining Council in order for President Khama to rule the entire public service with an iron fist. The UDC will not let this happen.
In conclusion, the UDC wishes to make these demands:
1. Carter Morupisi, who is not fit to hold office not only as a DPSM Head but as a public officer, should resign immediately to concentrate on his wife’s BDP campaign for a council seat in the Malaka/ Lecheng Ward;
2. Parliament must, as a matter of urgency, reign in on President Khama to stop undermining it by disrespecting a body which was established by Parliament. This is about the rule of law and, where Parliament is undermined willy-nilly by a Head of State, there is room for bootlicking and fear. We expect all Parliamentarians to call a spade a spade, not a big spoon because the President continues to run this country like it is his backyard garden. The Speaker of the National Assembly has also observed this in her book and all we are doing is to call upon the legislature to stop making itself a laughing stock by being afraid of a person who did not elect them to Parliament in the first place. Major General Moeng Pheto has also added his voice to this conundrum that has gripped the BDP and this country. We are sick and tired of members of the BDP back-bench who speak in hushed tones against the dictatorial tendencies of President Khama without speaking truth to power when this country is going down. History will judge them harshly.
UDC PUBLICITY SECRETARY