Faction of Manual Workers Union wants Motshwarakgole out

  • Says he has overstayed
  • Wants him investigated for abuse of office
  • Motshwarakgole has been at the helm of MWU since 1977
  • Says he has some years to go yet


Pressure is mounting on veteran unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole to step down as Organising Secretary of the National Amalgamated Local, Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (Manual Workers Union or MWU for short) or face forceful removal, The Botswana Gazette has established.

A group of members of the union has mounted a petition for signatures to this end on social media platforms and wants the veteran unionist investigated for abuse of office. The contention of the group is that Motshwarakgole, who has been in the leadership of trade unions since 1977, has overstayed and runs the Manual Workers Union as a one man show. The faction accuses the veteran unionist of purging other leaders with him on the Executive Committee of MWU for differing with him.

“The mandate of the union’s Executive Committee long elapsed last year December but there is no indication of the elective congress,” the petition reads. “As the concerned group, we feel that Motshwarakgole’s time in the union leadership is overdue there he should do the honourable thing and voluntarily step down and pave way for fresh ideas.
“Besides that, the mandate of current leadership has elapsed therefore there is need to call elections with immediate effect. Motshwarakgole’s overstay in the union’s leadership has made him call the shots in all development and decisions”.

However, a source says the petitioners do not understand the constitution of MWU because it stipulates 75 years as the retirement age. “Our constitution clearly states that anyone in the leadership retires at the age of 75,” said the source who is a member the Manual Workers Union.

Motshwarakgole has been in the leadership of MWU since 1977. Reached for comment, he said the petition is spearheaded by someone who was long fired from work but is no longer a member of the union. “That petition is driven by our former union member who was expelled from work some years back,” he asserted. “Her dismissal complaint even reached Labour and was resolved. It seems she is trying to incite union members to revolt against me and fight her battles.”

He added that contrary to claims by the petitioners, no structure of the union has ever raised concerns about his leadership. Regarding the call for an elective congress, Motshwarakgole said regional structures of MWU have agreed that the congress will be held as soon as “the corona situation is under control”.

Botswana’s longest serving trade union leader added that he still has more years to go. “I am still going to serve in this position because the constitution allows me,” he said. “I will not step down because of pseudo petitioners.”