Following a swift move by the victorious Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) faction led by Masego Mogwera to take control from the rival faction led by Olefile Monakwe, the latter has vowed not to give up.
The rival factions have been involved in a tussle over the control of the union since 2018, the battle which has resulted in several litigation actions. While there was drama at the union’s offices last week as Mogwera’s faction was denied entry into the union offices following the judgement, which ultimately reinstated the former and company in BOPEU.
Mogwera has since managed to effect the name change of office bearers with the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations as well as change bank signatories and freeze the union’s bank accounts.
However, the general secretary of the Monakwe faction, Kaboyaone Sedimo said they intend to fight to the bitter end as they consider the decisions by the Registrar and the bank to effect the changes of office bearers and signatories respectively as unlawful and arbitrary. He said in a telephone interview that they were shocked by the actions of both the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations as well as the Standard Chartered Bank.
“I had notified the Registrar about the recent developments concerning the pending court cases that we had appealed the recent judgement and applied for a stay of execution of the same,” Sedimo said.
“But the Registrar actions are tantamount to someone who is meddling in the affairs of the trade unions.” He further stated that they find even shocking that the Registrar acted on an order he was not a party to. “Assuming that there was an order to change the names of office bearers, then BOPEU is the one that has to write to the Registrar to effect the changes as per the court order.
That change was not done in good faith. We don’t consider it at all, but it is a fight we are to fight up to the end,” he added. Sedimo said this confirms their suspicion that there is an invisible third party fighting in Mogwera’s corner.
Moreover, he said it was unlawful for Topias Marenga, who is an ally of Mogwera to purport to be the general secretary of BOPEU as his contract with the union ended on December 31, 2020. Sedimo said he is currently the lawful general secretary of the union as his contract has not been terminated.
He also said they had instructed their legal team to take up the matter with the bank on its action to change signatories without written permission from BOPEU. According to him, the bank had to consider signatories that are submitted accompanied by Resolutions of the National Executive Committee of BOPEU.
Meanwhile, Mogwera said they used the court order to take control of the union finances. “Yes, we have managed to change the names of office bearers at the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers Organisations and also moved to change signatories at the bank to give the union leadership control of finances,” she said.
This development means that BOPEU has had three sets of office bearers since the union held its elective congress in 2018.
Meanwhile, Monakwe’s faction has appealed and applied for a stay of execution of the recent judgement that reinstated Mogwera and her allies back into the union leadership. The hearing of the expedited appeal has been set for May 24, 2021.