BOPEU may join BFTU

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PALAPYE: The re-elected president of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), Andrew Motsamai, has hinted that they may consider joining Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU).

Motsamai got 220 votes against Sikalame Seitiso’s 146 votes.  Although careful not to disclose details, he said in an interview that they will first scrutinise BFTU to see if it does not have the same characteristics that forced them (BOPEU) to terminate their membership from the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU). The president elect said: ”I have been able to establish a progressive culture in the organisation because as a union we must only associate with any union which subscribes to the principles of democracy and availability.”

He promised to continue fighting hard to ensure that working conditions for BOPEU members are improved and that his committee would continue negotiating in good faith with the employer.

“We will still continue to bargain every year, not only for salaries, but for other conditions as well.  The Bargaining Council must address other issues concerning the public employees. It should not be used as a salary forum,” explained Motsamai.

Motsamai revealed that his committee would finish their incomplete projects like their new corporate society, Babereki Savings and Credit Society (SACCOS) that was launched during the congress. He said he would encourage BOPEU members to actively participate in SACCOS, as it will benefit them. Motsamai further told Mmegi that as at December 2007, BOPEU assets were worth less than P2 million and it currently owns assets worth over P120m.

On his part, the defeated Seitiso said he accepted the results and could not reveal his furure plans about standing again.

“I am not in a state to tell you if I shall stand in the future or not because I still have to go back and review my plans. I will have to decide. Nevertheless, I still maintain my view that the current president has diverged from the principles of democracy. He does things according to his will not that of the masses. But since he was elected into position by the congress, I accept the results,” said Seitiso.

As for dumping BOFEPUSU he shared the same sentiments with Motsamai but said he is still wondering if “the congress really applied its mind thoroughly and analysed the whole decision and its outcomes.”

Other positions which were contested for were the appeals board which were won by Salome Tshiamo with 271 votes, Watota Kebonyemodisa with 260 votes, Ralebante Beltos with 233 votes and Malongwa Daniel with 184 votes.

The first deputy president seat was also contested for and Masego Mogwera won it with 220 votes over Tlotlang Bakoko’s 145 votes. Treasurer General, Galekhutle Tlhabologo and second deputy president Matilda Masane stood unopposed and they were automatically declared winners.

Meanwhile, the chief elections officer, Segopotso Sakwape, said the elections went well and no candidates have complained yet. He said his office ran the elections as per the BOPEU constitution.

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