Unions Plan Mass Protest against SOE – Rari

  • BOSETU says 66 teachers have succumbed to COVID-19
  • BOFEPUSU says COVID-19 Task Force lacks socio-economic considerations


Trade unions will mobilize for a mass demonstration if President Mokgweetsi Masisi extends the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) when the current one ends in September, the Secretary General of the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Tobokani Rari, has said.

Speaking at a media briefing of the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) and the Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Unions (BOFEPUSU) in Gaborone yesterday (Tuesday), Rari said the SoPE has not been effective for teaching and learning in schools.

“If you go to schools around Botswana, you will find that either students are in isolation or teachers are absent because they have been placed in quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19,” he said.

He disclosed that 66 teachers have succumbed to COVID-19, including two who died on Monday night this week. “The school environment is vulnerable,” Rari said. “You should not be surprised at this year’s results.”

Speaking at the same media briefing, the Deputy Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, said the SoPE has failed to contain the pandemic. “Instead it helped in growing corruption, instant ‘tenderpreneurs millionaires, limited delivery of social services, collapse of the health care system (and an) increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths,” Motshegwa asserted.

He accused the COVID-19 Task Force of failure to make socio-economic considerations in its responses because it is not sufficiently diverse in its composition. “This was illustrated in terms of costs from the 2021/2022 budget speech,” he said.

“There is no coherent plan to reverse the crisis to restore workers’ welfare and employment prospects. The so-called Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan is just a political rhetoric. The high cost to workers (is) retrenchment, loss of income and livelihoods, investments and dignity.”

Motshegwa said the upsurge in COVID-19 cases calls for a comprehensive vaccine roll-out plan which the government has to date failed to devise.