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The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has accused President Ian Khama of applying double standards by falsely condemning unions for politicizing the public service when he is the one who is involved in the act. In a statement released last week, BOFEPUSU deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa condemned Khama for flooding the public service with politicians, saying it was “repugnant and perturbing” for him to claim to be critical of the very wrong he was committing.
“At BOPEU congress Khama came out contemptuously raging against trade unions accusing them of politicizing the public service. Hardly a week later he appointed former ruling party members who lost elections to the public service. These add to the list of Louis Malikongwa and Duke Masilo who after losing primary elections were smuggled back to civil service,” he said.
Motshegwa cautioned that the continued appointment of politicians and Khama’s acquaintances to the civil service is demoralizing to civil servants who feel snubbed and disregarded in the order of succession planning and ladder of progression.
“This dents the credibility of the civil service and stifles the spirit of meritocracy,” said Motshegwa.
He also accused Khama of side lining career diplomats in favor of ruling party politicians who lost elections, saying such individual rewards compromise the role and effectiveness of Botswana’s missions because they are at the expense of national interest.
“These appointments are just used as holding cells for such politicians to come back and reignite their political careers. They are testimony of the President’s deception and dishonesty. He has a habit of saying something and then doing something else,” said Motshegwa.
BOFEPUSU also condemned Khama for his statements at the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) congress, when he urged workers and trade unions to come to his office for their conditions of service and welfare, saying such was tantamount to denouncing the role and relevance of Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). The Federation said Khama was actually urging workers and trade unions to abandon collective bargaining and resort to collective begging at his office.