BMWU cagey on leadership contenders

SELEBI-PHIKWE: The Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) is heading for an elective congress but would not reveal contenders for the national executive committee positions.

The union’s general secretary Bob Malele told Mmegi yesterday the union could not say who has submitted their names for the national office as it could be viewed as interfering and disadvantaging others who may still decide to stand. He said in the past, contenders did not have to apply ahead of the congress but were instead nominated from the floor.

“Our constitution is unclear on our electoral process but it allows us to waiver the process when there is need. We have since engaged the University of Botswana’s Democracy Research Council to look into the issue to close any loopholes so that elections become free and fair. We want to emerge out of the congress more united than ever,” he said. 

Floor nominations would still be allowed but only through the advice of the electoral board, Malele said. He said any member is free to run for any position including members of the outgoing national executive committee. To ensure that the elections are free and fair the election process at the congress has been outsourced to the Democracy Research Council and all positions will be contested for.

The congress will be held at Oasis Motel in Tlokweng from September 23-27. The last one, held at the same venue in 2011 elected Jack Tlhagale as the president, Joseph Tsimako as vice president, Malele as general secretary, Sebataladi Ramoitoi as vice general secretary as well as Peter Marewa as the national treasurer.

Malele acknowledged that BMWU has had tensions and divisions in the leadership but insisted that the issues are being addressed by the structures.  “Most of the issues causing tensions are not adding any value to the organisation or its members but that is simply petty politicks aimed at delaying the progress of the union,” he said. He said if the union leadership does not direct and advice accordingly, there would be chaos.

“There are undisclosed issues but they can be resolved. We regret that some prospective leaders want to gain entry into the coming executive committee using undemocratic means that are not good for the organisation. Leaders must be guided by the principle of good governance and practice it,” Malele said.

The minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila is expected to be the guest speaker. Fraternal friends from South Africa, Namibia and Ghana, as well as representatives of Industri All, an organisation BMWU is affiliated to, are expected to attend.

Meanwhile, the BMWU is in talks with the Botswana Power Corporation Workers Union (BPCWU) and Botswana Diamond Workers Union (BDWU) to merge, as they believe that unions under the same industry should be one unit. Malele said a merger would strengthen their position.

“A task team comprising chairpersons and secretaries of the three unions is already in place working on the possible merger. A national council led by Industri All and Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) advocates that one industry must have one union.”

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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