Teachers’ Unions Slam Moatlhodi Over School Sports Boycott 

  • Moatlhodi says teachers’ demands are excessive and unnecessary
  • Unions say Moatlhodi’s remarks are irresponsible


The Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) have criticized Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Pono Moatlhodi, for declaring teachers’ school sports boycott decision excessive and unnecessary.

This followed Moatlhodi’s remarks when commenting on the Parliamentary Committee of Supply budget presentation for the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport, and Culture. The Deputy Speaker, who also serves as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tonota, criticized teachers’ unions for instructing their members to boycott school sports, urging them to exercise patriotism and forgo some of their rights.

Teachers should sacrifice

Moatlhodi stated that the teachers’ union’s decision is unjustified, adding that some rights should be sacrificed to serve the country. “Some of these rights are excessive and unnecessary. The decision to boycott school sports is not justified. Where were these rights during our school years? Some of these rights should be left behind because they do not contribute to the country in any way. We should understand that this is the only country we tirelessly work for and develop. Therefore, no one will come and develop it,” Moatlhodi asserted, suggesting that teachers should follow the example of MPs who commence Parliamentary proceedings in the morning without demanding payment.

Fair pay

In response to his remarks, BOSETU president Winston Radikolo criticized Moatlhodi, demanding that he retract his words and apologize to teachers. “It was very irresponsible for Moatlhodi to suggest that our rights should be violated in the name of patriotism. We are displeased with his remarks. It is hypocritical of him to suggest that we should not demand remuneration while he receives sitting allowances in Parliament,” Radikolo expressed, urging Moatlhodi to withdraw his comments.

Similarly, Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) spokesperson Innocent Puso denounced Moatlhodi’s remarks as misguided and misinforming. “MPs are supposed to be champions of the law, but, surprisingly, they are the ones misinforming the nation about teachers’ rights. It seems like they do not think before they speak. It is worth noting that we cannot conduct school sports within the stipulated working hours, which is why we advocated for compensation for extra hours,” Puso stated in an interview.

Years of impasse

For years, teachers and the government have been at odds over their involvement in school sports, with teachers demanding compensation for extra working hours. While teachers demanded allowances for extra hours similar to other public servants, the government was only willing to provide nominal allowances for participation in sports-related activities, a stance the unions disagreed with. However, in 2019, the teacher’s union instructed teachers to boycott school sports amid government reluctance to compensate them for extra hours.