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PALAPYE: The decision was arrived at following a speech by the BOPEU secretary general, Topias Marenga, who suggested that BOPEU should move out of BOFEPUSO. Marenga stated that BOPEU had already briefed its six regions about the idea and four regions were not against while two could not agree nor disagree.

A commission was assigned to analyse his speech, which then recommended that the 30,000 plus member union withdraw membership from the federation.

The meeting noted that BOPEU joined the mother body through a congress resolution, therefore it should also move out of BOFEPUSO through the same route. It was then agreed an election be held, of which the withdrawal vote won with 226 against 36, and 11 abstaining from voting. 

The decision was, however, long expected. For a while now, the relationship between the leadership of  BOPEU and BOFEPUSU has been strained and things came to a head earlier this year, when the union members failed to make it into the contested leadership elections of the federation.

On September 7, 2015, BOPEU wrote a letter to BOFEPUSO, giving the federation a ‘Notice of intent to suspend union subscription to BOFEPUSO Pending Congress Directions’.

The letter noted that the BOPEU national executive committee had met the weekend before to discuss among other things, the simmering and unhealthy hostilities between the two organisations.

Among the long list of complaints and allegations against BOFEPUSU, the letter, signed by Marenga, stated that BOPEU had come

to the conclusion that the federation was intent on sabotaging and sideling the union. It stated that during the negotiations of 2015/2016, BOPEU’s submission even though dully received was never considered by the mother-body, hence denying BOPEU an opportunity to represent its constituencies.The letter further stated that BOPEU leadership had observed that there had been no attempt on the part of the current executive to address BOPEU’s concerns raised at the February 2015 BOFEPUSO congress relating to the unavailability of the audited book of accounts.

The letter concluded that it would be improper to continue to pretend that the relationship between the union and its mother-body was beneficial to their cause, hence intended to suspend their subscriptions.

BOFEPUSU problems may be far from over as rumours are rife that the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) may be on their way out as well. On Tuesday, in a solidarity message, BTU secretary general, Ebo Kenosi accused BOFEPUSO of sabotaging BOPEU. Attempts to get a comment from the BOFEPUSU leadership failed as the secretary general, Tobokani Rari and national organising secretary Johnson Motswarakgole were both on sick leave.




The Parliamentary DIS

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