The Botswana Federation of Public Private Parastatals Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) goes for elective congress next month. Two prominent trade unionists will this time around not be seeking another term in the new Central Executive Committee (CEC).
The two, veteran trade unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole and the radical Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, will not feature in the committee to be elected in June.
Motshwarakgole and Motshegwa are currently serving in the Federation’s CEC as labour secretary and deputy secretary general, respectively. They were instrumental in the mother-of-all-strikes in 2011.
Motshegwa confirmed that he would not be available for re-election, as he wants to direct his attention to writing more on trade unionism and industrial relations to enhance literature on the labour movement.
“I believe that I have served well and spent enough time in the federation, and now it is time to give other people a chance to lead the federation,” he said.
He indicated that he wants to focus on building his union, the Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU).
The militant unionist Motshegwa was dismissed by his employer, the Francistown City Council (FCC) in 2015, but his union moved swiftly to employ him permanently. When contacted, Motshwarakgole also confirmed that he would not stand as a candidate in the next elective congress. “Yes, I confirm that I have requested my committee not to seek another term in office during this coming congress.
I am still in discussion with them, but I think it is time I gave other enthusiastic trade unionists a
Motshwarakgole is well known as the elderly figure in the public workers’ union, with a wealth of experience on workers’ protests, demonstrations, union power struggles, factions, betrayals, plots against government and career endings. He joined the union in the 1970s as a branch committee member and a shop steward. He was in no time elevated to the national executive committee.
The two have been influential figures in trade unionism and it remains to be seen how BOFEPUSU will survive without them. Motshwarakgole believes that the federation has people with the capacity to continue the fight for workers’ rights.“I have a lot of trust in the men and women I leave behind. Those that I have served with in the CEC including Rari, Motshegwa, Tshukudu, Kgaogano and Molaodi can take the federation forward.
“I would still be available to advise because the federation is close to my heart. To me, being a unionist is a calling,” he added. BOFEPUSU will hold its two-day elective congress on June 28, 2018 in Gaborone.