The tension between Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) escalated last weekend as BOPEU members abstained from contesting any positions at federation level. ┬á
According to BOPEU president Andrew Motsamai his Union chose to abstain from contesting any position at federation level because they had issues with the way the leadership of the federation was nominated and elected.
“The electoral process was unconstitutional. Our understanding as BOPEU was that delegates attending congress on that particular day were to nominate names, followed by endorsement of such names and then followed by voting,” said Motsamai adding that there was no election at the weekend Congress.
Motsamai said the federation used a system called block voting whereby unions come up with names which they agreed upon prior to the congress.
“These names were nominated by unions, not delegates and that is unconstitutional. Having realised that things were not going according to the constitution we decided not to contest at all. ┬áWe chose to take a position not to contest,” he emphasized.
He further said BOPEU as a union believes that new leadership can provide new ideas.
“We have been in BOFEPUSU since its inception in 2008. We were the founding members of BOFEPUSU. I was the first President of the federation and we have been at the helm of the federation,” he said adding that it was a good thing to abstain to allow others an opportunity to lead.
Party affiliation is one factor that has led BOPEU not to take part in the federation elections.
“There were some decisions that were taken by BOPEU that made some of our members to abstain from contesting for any position at the federation level. For example BOPEU’s decision not to affiliate to any political party; this is one of the issues that cropped many times prior and during the congress. Party affiliation is wrong; public servants belong to different political parties. We are not isolating ourselves from BOFEPUSU, we are family,” he said.
Comment from the newly elected leadership of the federation was not immediately available.
Meanwhile Johannes Tshukudu from Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) was voted the new President of the Federation, the deputy position remains vacant; Tobokani Rari retained his position as the secretary general deputised by Ketlhalefile Motshegwa.
Treasure General is Moses Monnaatsie; Position of Publicity Secretary went to Mogomotsi Motshegwa. Johnson Motshwarakgole is still Secretary for Labour while Samuel Molaodi is Secretary for Education.
Occupational health and safety; Youth and culture positions are both vacant; Simon Kgaoganang is secretary for gender while Disang Mokwape is responsible for Research.