Botswana Secondary Education Teachers Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Workers Union (BLLAWU) disrupted proceedings at the just ended Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) national congress when they withdrew from the federation’s committee elections.
BOSETU withdrew their candidate, Shandukani Hlabano, from the race for the BFTU presidency. BLLAWU also followed suit, saying that they will not participate in the elections until a full report of the federation’s audited accounts is availed.
BOSETU later moved a motion calling for the congress to be postponed until a special congress is convened to adopt the federation’s audited financial statements.
The motion was then opposed by way of a countermotion from the Tertiary Trainers and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), who argued that it was irrelevant and sought to reintroduce issues that had been previously addressed by the General Council.
The congress was adjourned after a lengthy debate, and outgoing BFTU President Japhta Radibe had to summon the General Council members to seek advice.
“While BOSETU was principled in boycotting the elections on the basis of irregularity of financial procedures, it seemed mischievous and unethical for them to move for the congress’ postponement afterwards,” said a BFTU official.
In the end Radibe had to call for a vote, and 75 voted for the congress to continue while 67 opposed.
Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Railways Workers Union (BRAWU), BOSETU and BLLAWU then walked out in protest.
Subsequently all candidates from the unions which walked out lost except BTU’s Cannie Kwante who was unopposed as Deputy Secretary General.
Tebogo Sebogodi, Vice President of BOSETU, later distanced her Union from accusations that they were part of a greater plan to sabotage BFTU operations.
“BOSETU does not have plans to leave BFTU because it is a proponent of a unified working force. We want to see all the labour organizations working under the BFTU,” she said.