Members of Botswana Public Employees Unions (BOPEU) will soon decide the future of their union as an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEUSU), The Monitor has learnt.
According to BOPEU Gaborone branch chairperson, Oaitse Diane Patle the decision to pull out or not out of the federation would be taken by the membership during a special congress very soon. Patle said following the BOFEPUSU ‘unconstitutional’ congress last week, the leadership of BOPEU would call a special congress to retrospect and map the way forward.
He said contrary to the media reports, there were no elections during the federation congress. “Delegates who attended the elective congress were denied their constitutional right to cast their vote contrary to what they had expected. The election process was neither free nor fair; elections were rigged by the current committee in office, which has elected itself through what it terms block voting, which was unconstitutional,” said Patle.
He said without any constitutional amendments, the four unions affiliates of BOFEPUSU agreed on block voting in contravention of the guiding documents. He alleged that the four unions even colluded to block other leaders to stand for elections just because of political party affiliation differences.
The other four affiliates of BOFEPUSU are Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers’ Union (NALCGPWU) and Botswana Land Boards Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU).
Patle also said contrary to the federation and Trade Unions and Employers Organization Act (TUEOA) permanent union employees who are not government employees and/or full time union employees were allowed to hold elective positions. He was referring to veteran unionists Johnson Motshwarakgole and Samuel Molaodi, employees of NALCGPWU. The two were re-elected to the central executive committee of BOFEPUSU.
“In so far as the Federation Constitution and the Trade Unions and Employers Organization Act are concerned, the two instruments only allow union officials (office-bearers) and members with good standing (ordinary members) to stand for elections and to hold office or executive position in the federation.