Molale can still repent – Motshwarakgole


PALAPYE: Veteran trade unionist Johnson Motshwarakgole has called on Eric Molale to review his stance against workers and make peace with them.

Motshwarakgole stated that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) mobilised and successfully assisted opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to ensure Molale loses in the recent Goodhope/Mabule by-election. “We are not even sure whether he is a retired public servant or what. We were surprised that he toured the country strongly ordering public servants to stay away from active politics before he became a minister, now he was the one being actively involved,” he said.

The BOFEPUSU labour secretary informed the just-ended Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) conference here,  that the federation mobilised and successfully assisted in the UDC win. Motshwarakgole stated they were not just against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, but the candidate Molale because he is the “worst enemy” of workers. It was not too late, as Molale can still rethink his position, said Motshwarakgole. “We are in full support of anyone who supports the labour movement and assists them carry their burden to the Promised Land,” he added. He said BOFEPUSU is more than willing to engage in talks with government to address the problems bedevilling the country such as unemployment and roaming of graduates in the streets because government alone cannot solve the situation.

“We have asked to meet President Ian Khama three times but all in vain.  It would then be insane for us as the labour movement to continue retaining the government that does not want to listen to us yet we are the ones who voted them into power. Let us put things in order before 2019 comes,” said Motshwarakgole.

He stressed that lack of consultation by government is the one that results in BOFEPUSU behaving the way it does. Though he concurred with calls for unity in workers’ organisations, the problem is when agreements between unions are not. He said in that scenario it is then better for a few unionists who are genuine to each other to traverse together to a common destination.

“This is a battle so we cannot just agree to unite if others are not genuine. We should try,” he added.

UDC vice president Ndaba Gaolatlhe had earlier told BOSETU delegates that trade unions need a sense of working together and they need a good vision and stay united.

“Unite as workers and the country will unite. Invest time to build the right character. We can be one of the greatest nations. Have solidarity among yourselves,” he added.

He said unions must be careful on what they are fighting for and said issues like salary increases should be an outcome of what they are fighting for not the goal.

“You must have a vision and vision is not enough if it is not buttressed by knowledge.  True knowledge does not seek favour or to impress but new roles that will take us to our destiny,” he added. 

Gaolathe said the nation has a vision and the citizenry have applied themselves diligently to become anything they want to be.  He added that UDC would fight for anyone who treads this path. 

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) secretary general Topias Marenga also made the unity call, noting that trade unions should be seen to be united towards a common goal and added that an injury to one should be an injury to all.

He said the current era needs a united labour movement and stressed the need to have the lives of those in the private sector that are not unionised at heart. “We need each other’s support more than ever before,” he added.

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