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The Fate Of BOPEU’s Damned

Masego Mogwera
A panel of three High Court judges on Friday threw Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) president, Olefile Fast Monakwe’s presidency and fate into limbo, as well as to prematurely end appointments of  first deputy president, Donald Mokgwe, secretary-general Rash Sedimo, his deputy Zibani Philemon, and numerous appointments to the board of trustees of the union’s business wings.

The panel of three judges effectively declared Monakwe’s presidency a nullity and put Masego Mogwera and secretary-general Topias Marenga back in charge of the leadership of BOPEU.

Questions now linger as to whether Monakwe, who usurped the presidency from Mogwera, will be coughed out into the doldrums and ejected from the National Executive committee  or settle for first deputy president post to which he was elected to at the last BOPEU congress in Kasane in December, 2018, and wait for the president to invoke her powers to take disciplinary action against him for having put the union into disrepute.

The dilemma, however, is that when Monakwe ascended to BOPEU presidency at the Palapye Congress last year, which also expelled legitimate president Mogwera from the union in abstentia, he went on to install Mokgwe as the first deputy president, as well as electing Sedimo into the secretary-general post, and then had Marenga effectively fired.

Another new appointment by Monakwe after suspending and expelling his superiors had been that of deputy secretary-general, previously occupied by Kethapeleng Karabo, where comrade-in-arms, Philemon was rewarded.

Accepting the then new posts at BOPEU came at

a cost  to Sedimo and Philemon, in their professional carriers. Sedimo, previously an IT officer at a government school had to resign from his job to secure his new post. Philemon, who was previously employed at the Ministry of Trade  also had to resign from his work place to take up the BOPEU deputy secretary-general’s offer. With the nullifications of Monakwe’s presidency and its resolutions, going back to government employ by the current secretary-general and his deputy is near impossible, while their seats in the BOPEU national executive committee where they had been in the last two years, have also now been passed to others and therefore not available to them.

In fact, the duo of Philemon and Sedimo will also see themselves literally out in the cold, and outside BOPEU membership as they will no longer be the union’s members since they are no longer civil servants.

The nullification of Monakwe and his NEC’s decisions will also have far reaching consequences on the make up of the board of trustees appointed by or during Monakwe’s tenure, according to analysts of the Friday judgement.





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