Some Doubting Thomas’s argue that the absence the current administration of BOPEU leadership from office will cause instability within the union and also there is mistakable believed that such a decision will affect the economic growth of the union and its current massive wealth.
The truth is the opposite. BOPEU has lost focus and has divorced its primary mandate of being a Trade Union and Representative of the voiceless under the leadership of its multi-titled President; Chief spokesperson of the union, Board Chairperson of Babereki Investment (PTY) LTD and Babereki Insurance, Chief spokesperson of the two companies which are 100% owned by BOPEU, Board Chairperson of BOPEU appointment and promotion board and Board of Trusts, Member of Labour Advisory Council and Procurement Manager of the union and its subsidiary.
The whole truth is that; the new administration-in-waiting will bring stability within the union in 2016 and beyond, bring hope in the minds and souls of both BOPEU members and the Working class that, they will be liberalised, be released from oppression and slavery and be united as one solid front.
BOPEU – a general union
BOPEU being a general union and a union of choice. Under the current regime of comrade Andrew Motsamai and his bootlickers, it has lost direction and is being administered as a Department of Social Services giving destitute blankets, food and promotng funeral benefits more than decent work life. The union no longer cares about issues of employment which concerns the working class and its President’s interest is on Road Shows to promote the company (Babereki Investments) products and services, Cultural nights and Concerts which are so closer to his heart and that of his associates, when BOPEU members at the workplace are suffering.
In society, we have leaders who are big headed, self-centred and dictatorial, leaders who preach democracy, the rule of law and good governance but not practise what they preach, and above all; leaders who advocate for human rights inclusive of labour rights, but do the opposite by oppressing their own union members and union employees and BOPEU under the current regime is not an exception. Generally speaking, my opinion is that BOPEU is cursed to have its current Army General and leader who is divisive and who can destroy the movement that he has built for years just for personal gains and a leader who does not have or have little respect to humanity. BOPEU urgently need progressive leaders who have the wisdom, fear of almighty God and who will have respect for humanity and ensure that; women who are in majority in BOPEU are respected and given the treatment that they deserve, leaders who will always have the welfare and interests of union members and the working class at heart and put them in the fore front.
I am convinced that, comrade City Seitiso and Masego Mogwera as well as their team who will taking over from the current President in office, will not surround themselves with Yes Boss Guys and as such; will ensure that, acts of Malpractices, Sexual Exploitation, Abuse of Office and Misappropriation of the union’s resources such vehicles and finances as alleged, will be things of the past in 2016 and beyond.
I have to confirm and confess that; I am not a Campaigning Manager of the Presidential candidates mentioned above, but I fully support them and will also support independently and campaign for any fearless and non-coward candidate who will support them and have the interests of the workers at heart like them, any candidates who are not a bootlickers and who cannot be easily bought with Board of Directors’ positions and/ or Alcohol like some of our comrades (names withheld)standing in certain positions.There is an urgent need for the general membership of BOPEU to embark on a soul searching journey of strategic and visionary leaders who will have workers’ welfare, aspirations and interests and that of the entire working class at heart. I have to reiterate my firm position that the President of BOPEU together with his associates and bootlickers amongst them; Regional Chairperson of Rotlhe; Tlotlang Bakoko and many others, whom I will release their names soon, are a stumbling block to the unity and to democracy in the country, they cannot be trusted any more, hence i hereby declare them Number One (1) Enemies of BOPEU members and the Workers at large.President of BOPEU is an angel of God. He is not small God and is not even more intelligent than a pool of academics within the union. To that extent, he cannot give other members with good standing a change to lead union to great heights and to come up with new ideas as to how this labour movement can be transform into a more responsive/proactive union towards the plight of workers.
I therefore urge all right minded citizens and in particular union members across the spectrum to play a meaningful role in ousting the President of BOPEU from office and ensuring that his loyalist Comrade Bakoko is not voted the 1st Deputy of the union because he is a sellout and is hungry for power. The same comrade Bakoko is the same man who has put workers at BURS in trouble after promising them that, if they engaged in Industrial Action that he was coordinating they will get high salary increases and even went further to tell innocent employees at BURS that the employers does not have the right to lock them out (Lock-out) when they engage in unprotected indoffice, it is not an inherent position or chieftainship and as a result; is subjected to free and fair elections in a democratic set up. I am adamant Regime Change in BOPEU is not a Sin or Taboo; hence call for change in the Union Presidential positions or Presidency.
Why workers join unions
I find it imperative to advice and guide comrades in the struggle that, workers join trade union for various reasons ranging from; Job Security, Economic needs, Social needs and for Self-fulfillment and at the very heart of them all they join a union with good leadership which has the capacity and competencies to assist and sufficiently represent the them at the workplace.
Most importantly; workers join unions with the need for affiliation and for comradeship/ interactions and not funeral schemes, union positions and self-enrichment which is become common BOPEU. I therefore urge those who will be avail to attend the forth-coming Congress as delegates to scrutinize those who will be standing for the three (3) Presidential positions and other Senior positions and ensure that they avail to them their credentials and at-least Ten (10) Agenda Items on what they have in their brief case for workers, and give priority list of work place issues that they will address in their first 100 days in office well in time for scrutiny.
Naturally in the workplace, they are workplace forums which are critical for consultations and those are in-house consultative machineries designed to facilitate a shift from adversarial collective bargaining in all matters of joint- problem solving and to management/employee structures through information sharing, consultation and joint decision-making process.
Any progressive leader who really care about the welfare and well-being of the workers at the workplace will make this undertaking as one of his/her priority because unions must ensure that there is health and safety working conditions for employees at the work-place and ensure that in every workplace there is a safety committee established, something which comrade President Motsamai has failed to advocate for; during his tenure in office despite the fact that he is a Nurse by Profession.
ligatory duty of the union and its President in particular to protect such employment right.
This is one of the obligatory duty and function of President of BOPEU comrade Motsamai which he has failed to perform and it is evident that his focus and interest is primarily on driving projects and financial schemes of Babereki Investment (PTY) LTD for personal gains, which are in fact the greatest achievements of the Company’s General Manager comrade Motshegare.
As of now; the employer is changing the existing scheme of services and conditions of service and is developing and/or implementing Competency Based Career Path (CBCP) for various generic cadres without consulting employees and/or negotiating new terms and conditions of service with recognized trade union (BOPEU) and also employees who does not have CBCP are subjected to competency Based Interviews (CBI).
It is alleged that, the current President of BOPEU has a hand this kind of oppression of these generic cadres and he is believe to be sympathetic to the employer and he is also suspected to be supportive to individual negotiations outside bargaining council.
Union Membership is not an automatic right, the right to join a union of one’s choice is based on solemnly on; the union ideology, its capacity to sufficiently to represent and assist its members and how its resources are generally being managed and as to a decision of joining a union is an individual choice and not collective choice as some BOPEU members seems to suggest.It is trade union being a legal person which can decide who to admit or not admit, what my fellow comrades may not be aware of is that, in the absence of an express clause in a union constitution prohibiting dual membership, there is nothing which prevents workers from joining two unions, if they so wish, even if they are bound by statutory close-shop or collective agreement.
Currently; BOPEU has members with dual membership and it admits and continue to recruited members from other sister unions with dual membership, it must be noted that; to have a Dual Membership is not a crime and/or an offence punishable by law; it is an Individual Right that does not need authority or permission from ordinary union members.
Some people within the union led by comrade Bakoko Chairperson of Rotlhe Region who lost elections during BOFEPUSU election congress; are agitating for disintegration of BOPEU from the federation and withdrawal its subscription fee because the federation is alleged to have failed to audit its Books of Accounts. There is also unconfirmed report and allegations that, BOPEU President has concealed certain vital information from members and the truth which is alleged to have been concealed is that, BOFEPUSU has long requested comrade Motsamai to hand-over Cheque Book which is alleged to have been under his custody at the time when he was employed and paid over P30, 000.00 by the federation, but went missing at his Head Office. I think it is time for the union President and Chief spokesperson BOPEU to tell members the truth and confirm or deny allegations and unconfirmed report as above. PS: These are personal views and comments of the author and are not of any union, federation or Institution with which he may be a member with good standing.
Oaitse Diane Patle*
*Patle is a reformist unionist based in Gaborone. E-mail: [email protected]