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BOFEPUSU ropes in political experts

CHAKALISA DUBE
Masisi. PIC. KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFUPUSU) has confirmed that it has engaged independent political experts to assess the country’s political landscape.

The decision to appoint experts was taken by the federation in March this year. According to the federation, the report on the country’s political climate will guide members of federation on how to vote in the 2019 general elections.

However, the federation was quick to point out that the identity of the experts would only be disclosed at a special congress to discuss matters surrounding the general elections.

“The experts are from South Africa. There are a lot of dynamics that have taken place in the country’s political landscape since the 2014 general elections. That is why we found it prudent to engage experts to help us analyse the political environment. We want our members to make an informed decision on how they should vote at the next general elections,” the federation spokesperson Mogomotsi Motshegwa said early this week. 

On another note, “This is the year of harvest for civil servants in the sense that they will have an opportunity to vote who they believe will best advance their interests for the next five years. That is why their decisions on who to vote have to be backed by a thorough analysis of the country’s political environment,” Motshegwa highlighted.

Mmegi has established that the federation chose to go for independent experts to do the analysis after it emerged that most of the executive members are aligned to various parties locally. There was fear that had executive members been assigned to do the analysis the federation risked not having an objective view of the country’s political environment.

The South African experts have also been given some terms of reference to guide them to compile a

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report on the country’s political environment.  

Depending on the outcomes of the reports, BOFEPUSU has said that it may choose to support one of the country’s political parties at the 2019 polls or let its members vote independently.

In 2014 the federation chose to support the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) because it was perceived to be sympathetic to the plight of the workers.

BOFEPUSU is not the only organisation that has engaged experts to help assess the political environment leading to the 2019 general elections.

Early this year UDC president, Duma Boko, announced that the party has appointed South African company ‘Status’, to help assess the political environment. The firm will also help with political campaigning strategies that could help the opposition coalition to triumph at the October elections.

Meanwhile, Motshegwa has also quashed growing suggestions that the government will soon capture the federation leaders. Trade unions particularly BOFEPUSU have attracted criticism for appearing to have a suspicious relationship with the government since Mokgweetsi Masisi took over as president. The concerns were even echoed by Botswana Mine Workers Union president Jack Tlhagale recently during the May Day celebrations.

“By acknowledging that the relationship between the government has improved we are not praising the government. If something positive has come out for the workers we have to acknowledge it. The workers will lose faith in us if we constantly criticise government even during instances where there are positive developments,” he said.

“Even our May Day speech highlighted issues concerning the workers which we are not happy about and we want them ( issues) to be urgently dealt with by the current government,” he said.



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