President of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Dumelang Saleshando says it is unfortunate that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) should be divided and falling apart, just because of political partisan. Speaking during a ‘Re a fenya’ rally in Gabane Tuesday, Saleshando said it is disheartening that the workers federation has now derailed from its mandate. He said the leadership of the federation is speaking more of political affiliation and has neglected labour cases.
His comments come after BOFEPUSU leaders issued press statements criticizing each other on the issue of political partisan. The Federation’s President, Masego Mogwera recently issued a statement claiming that it was resolved that the federation would to align itself with any political formation. That the federation is a mass movement with a broad base of people from different political orientations. ‘…lately we saw in newspapers that Dumelang Saleshando has been included in the BOFEPUSU hit list, we have no such list and we have no reason to include Dumelang Saleshando in the purported list.
To the fullest of my knowledge no member of the federation central committee has been mandated to make such statements, which statements have the potential to destabilize the federation,” she said. A contradicting statement signed by BOFEPUSU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari indicated that, the federation is of the view that all affiliates except for the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) were in agreement that there is a valid and binding resolution which calls for BOFEPUSU to support the Umbrella for Democratic Change(UDC)…
“One of its leaders is widely on record adding me to their ‘hit list’. Let me tell you workers, the strength of a political party in times like these is determined by the contents of its manifesto. We have three parties contesting for office this year. These are the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). Your choice as a worker should be party that cares for your welfare,” Saleshando said to an attentive audience. He said the BDP should be ruled out because its president Ian Khama has indicated during the mass strike that he is not for employees.
That his are the unemployed! The BCP he said has it in its manifesto that once in power it is going to make it compulsory that all employees are pensionable. “The UDC manifesto on the other hand is silent on the subject of worker’s pensions. We also are against minimum wage and advocate for living wage. Minimum wage is disadvantageous to Batswana in the sense that companies that otherwise pay higher wages in neighboring South Africa pay their Batswana workers less for the same positions because of the provision of the law,” he said.
Again Saleshando said, UDC manifesto is silent on this minimum wage issue. “Let me tell you what UDC’s manifesto has, they advocate for flexible working hours. Here an employee is not forced to work all hours of the day. This applies to white color job employees who use equipment like lap tops. A Choppies till operator cannot take it and work home. Unfortunately this is not for you low-paid workers. The choice is yours. Which of the parties caters for your needs?” He wondered why UDC and BOFEPUSU urge electorates to punish him and his party by vote. BCP is the one whose lashes the BDP has felt more recently.
“I was alone in parliament in 2004. I went out and talked to electorates at Chobe, Ngamiland , Okavango and Selibe Phikwe, they understood me and in 2009 we replaced BDP by BCP Legislators there. When I returned here BDP had slimmed. But it regained weight as Botswana National Front (BNF) replaced Moupo by Masitara, Molefhabangwe by Ntuane and Magano by Molatlhegi. This is because BNF has married BDP’s daughter-Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). So BDP is BNF’s mother-in-law,” he said to loud laughter. He said the fact that UDC introduced the bus campaigning strategy after BCP is indicative of the fact that indeed BCP is a leader. He said, “You can only lead if there are those prepared to follow you.”