BOFEPUSU Identifies Masisi As “Enemy of Workers”

  • Motshegwa describes President as clueless and deceptive
  • Says the Gov’t is to blame the nation’s woes


The Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) says that the recent speech by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in which he rounded on the public service for under-performance and low productivity levels is an indication of a clueless enemy of workers who becomes deceptive when seeking support.

The President addressed the nation on Btv in a wide-arching speech last Sunday after the ruling Botswana Democratic Party emerged from a retreat where Masisi said its leaders took a hard look at themselves in a soul-searching introspection.

Responding to the President’s address, the Deputy Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, said it was disingenuous of Masisi to claim not to be a part of the mess that he referred to when he has been Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration in a previous administration. “Moreover, of three years as President, he has been running the country alone by usurping the powers of all governance institutions under the guise of a State of Emergency,” Motshegwa said, referring to the government’s measures to contain COVID-19 that came with imposition of a state of emergency in March last year. “Why create a mess and want to reset it? The fundamental question should be from whom is he reclaiming the government when he has been a part of it and is now at the helm of it?”

The leader of the massive union federation that is now also a labour centre said President Masisi has always been an enemy of workers as demonstrated by the BDP government’s anti-workers’ crusade in the course of Botswana’s most protracted public service strike of 2011.

In his address, the President said the political leadership of the country had increasingly fallen into the clutches of an underperforming public service that has grown more robust in obstruction than in productivity over the last 30 years. “We find an evolving culture of a democratically elected but increasingly pliable political leadership of the last three decades (that is) held to ransom by groups of abrasive technocrats in lowest in the food chain, so to speak,” he noted. “We are where we are because our productivity levels have failed us and only we can resolve that anomaly.”

Motshegwa’s response to this is that the government and the posture of its ministers and permanent secretaries should be blamed for poor social protection systems and policies that subject Batswana to exploitation. In a nutshell, the President’s address showed a man who is clueless, lacks direction and fails to provide leadership, he said.

“Workers must understand Masisi as a deceptive leader when seeking their support because deep down he despises them,” the unionist asserted. “As a federation, we would like to note that public servants are working hard to serve this country and have served it with distinction. That is why (in the past) the government has taken pride in boasting about the progress (made) in this country. Public servants continue to perform greatly under poor conditions of service, low salaries in the midst of an ever-rising rising cost of living, accommodation challenges and many more issues.”

Motshegwa emphasised that as a labour movement, BOFEPUSU demands impartial and effective dispute resolution, implementation of the PEMANDU report (for improved welfare of workers), enhancement of social dialogue for harmonious industrial relations and a review of the constitution for entrenchment of workers’ rights.