Goodhope/Mabule public servants reiterated their support on Wednesday for the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) candidate in tomorrowâ€™s by-election, as an act of revenge against the ruling party contender.
This is subsequent to the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) endorsing Kgosi Lotlamoreng II of the UDC this week.
At a well-attended rally held at the Goodhope bus rank, BOFEPUSU blasted the ruling party for being anti-workers and hence needing to be denied votes in order to accelerate changes in the public sector.
BOFEPUSU secretary general, Tobokani Rari appealed to the workers to bring an end to what he termed an ‘oppressive regime’.
“We are living in difficult times where the government is oppressing workers on a day-to-day basis. The only power that we have is voting. I therefore urge workers to vote for UDC,” said Rari.
Rari charged that Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidate, Eric Molale has been anti-workers throughout his career in the public service, therefore the working class must not accord him the ballot.
Further, the unionist said Molale has even gone to the extent of making statements that offended workers during the 2011 longest running public service strike.
“Ke nako ya go mo supegetsa gore ga go tshamekelwe mo babereking (It’s time to show him that it is no playground where workers are concerned),” said Rari.
To this, throngs of workers who were in attendance nodded and murmured in agreement, as some sang anti- Molale songs. For his part, Molale said his votes would come from Barolong not the workers.
He said Barolong understand this better. “I simply told workers to stop being involved in politics. It’s unfortunate that they will hate me for the truth.
Some of them were in an unlawful strike and they lost their jobs because of that,” he said. Molale said workers should stop being misled by Johnson Motshwarakgole (BOFEPUSU secretary for labour affairs), who he said is not a civil servant like them.
BOFEPUSU strongly condemned the mass transfers of public servants that allegedly followed a visit by former head of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Carter Morupisi to Goodhope Senior Secondary School.
Morupisi declined to comment on the grounds that he is not privy to details of the Wednesday rally in Goodhope, and did not know about such a gathering. “The fact of the matter is that I cannot comment on things that I do not know. I may end up commenting on untruths,” he added.
When Mmegi explained that he is being accorded his right of reply, Morupisi persistently said, “I can’t comment”.
However, Mmegi is reliably informed that following Morupisi’s April 17 visit, letters of intent to transfer more than 20 teachers from Goodhope SSS, including the school head, were sent direct from the education ministry on May 13.
“Within two weeks confirmation letters arrived, except for one head of department whose confirmation letter had not arrived after turning down an initial transfer offer to Chobe stating that she wanted Pitsane instead,” a source revealed. BOFEPUSU views the move as politically inclined and is meant to shut the public servants out of bringing issues that stood in the way of their work to the fore.
Already, those given transfer letters were last week urged to report to their new schools, while five of the affected have gone to their new work stations.
BOFEPUSU has made arrangements to have the transferred teachers vote tomorrow.
Moreover, the federation said this is meant to silence and decampaign opposition politics by cutting into their support base.
Teachers and union representatives reported that subsequent to Morupisi’s Goodhope visit threats and dismissals were hauled at them for complaining about conditions of service and the perennial water shortage at the school, which opened in 2008.
One teacher who preferred anonymity told Mmegi after the BOFEPUSU rally that, “We cannot be expected to perform miracles when the school can go up to three days without water. Our students do stay three days without attending classes because of water issues”.
An employee at a health facility in Goodhope stated that the health centre in the constituency is facing acute shortage of resources. “We share an ambulance with some clinics.
This has led to patients waiting for a long time to be transported to Goodhope,” the health worker said.
“The issue of accommodation, water and electricity is really frustrating us. There is no way we will vote for Molale,” continued the source. Water shortage has bedevilled Goodhope SSS for years since it opened.
The mass transfers at the school are reported to have seen 25 teachers already served with letters. The school head, deputy school head and three heads of departments are also on their way out. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Molale will not be voting in the by-election since he registered for last year’s general elections in Gaborone.