The police had to be called in to whisk away five senior members of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), including president Masego Mogwera and general secretary Topias Marenga.
The union is reportedly cash-strapped and is recently reported to be reversing salary increments they had made to their employees.
The five were on Saturday afternoon suspended from their positions at the BOPEU National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at Cresta Lodge. Mogwera, first deputy president Martin Gabobake, Marenga, deputy secretary Kethapeleng Karabo and treasurer general Aba Gabaikhe were suspended for failure to observe articles 53.1 and 53.2 respectively, which speak of the secondment and remuneration of office bearers (president and treasurer general) as well as sanctioning the implementation of the new BOPEU structure.
The NEC has since resolved to appoint Philemon Zibani as the interim president, Ogaufi Masame as first deputy president and Mosalagae Tlhako as treasurer general pending investigations.
In a press release from Zibani, he states that contrary to the provision of the constitution, the secondment allowance of the two were determined and sanctioned by Marenga and the two.
“Prior to 2017 CEC, NEC took a resolution not to implement any part of the structure that has financial implications to the union, but rather the pay structure
Zibane further stated that the implication of the decision is P1.8 million over the past eight months the structure has been implemented. He further stated that the office bearers are holding the union at ransom as they have refused to vacate office.
Sources within Babereki House corridors allege that Zibani intends to challenge Mogwera for presidency in December. It is alleged that Zibane and other remaining members of the NEC are pro-former president Andrew Motsamai. Motsamai was fired from the position of executive chairperson at Babereki Investments last year, which is owned by BOPEU.
Mogwera has on the other hand issued a press release declaring a state of emergency. She called on the public and BOPEU members to remain calm as they move to normalise the situation. She stated that she has instructed Marenga to schedule meetings to address members.