After labouring under incessant fire from the maverick Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will now heave a sigh of relief as the Federation has now focused its cannons on the opposition.
In an interesting turn of events, BOFEPUSU recently announced that they have upped the ante in their strategy of de-campaigning political candidates who are hostile to workers’ interests ahead of the general elections, as they will now be targeting opposition political parties ahead of the October general elections.
Initially BOFEPUSU had targeted BDP MPs and Ministers during the party primary elections earlier this year and the Federation remains adamant that they were very influential in the outcome of the ruling party’s primary election results.
BOFEPUSU Acting Publicity Secretary, Ibo Kenosi told Sunday Standard that while some candidates who were key targets of their de-campaign strategy escaped by a whisker, among them Acting Minister of Presidential Affairs, Shaw Kgathi and Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mokgweetsi Masisi, the Federation is comforted by the knowledge that most of the candidates who featured in their political hit list lost dismally.
At a retreat held in Palapye last year, BOFEPUSU identified Kgathi and Masisi together with Minister of Health, Dr. John Seakgosing, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, Assistant Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri and Gaborone South MP, Kagiso Molatlhegi as some of the marked men on the hit list.
This week the Federation claimed responsibility for the downfall and political demise of Seakgosing, Lands and Housing Minister Lebonamang Mokalake as well Justice, Defense and Security Minister Ramadeluka Seretse.
“We are proud to have written the political obituaries of these Ministers. We have their scalps and we ended their political careers prematurely,” he said.
While he declined to mention the names of opposition candidates in the Federation’s hit list, Kenosi did not have kind words for some candidates that have been fielded by the opposition, describing them as clowns that do not deserve the workers’ votes.
“It is important for us to continue monitoring the performance of these politicians, including those from the opposition. We will not only focus on the BDP because we also want to cleanse the opposition of some clowns who are polluting the environment there. As we speak our structures across the country are busy working on that issue. We are looking for politicians with character, not clowns. This is not about party affiliation. We will urge our members to encourage even their relatives to vote against enemies of labor,” said Kenosi.
He explained that BOFEPUSU was strongly opposed to imposition of sub-standard leadership and has made it its mission to rid Parliament of such leaders.
“We cannot just fold our arms and watch clowns standing up to announce that they want to stand for elections. We cannot tolerate sub-standard leadership anymore and we will mobilize potential voters against this,” said Kenosi.
With more than 100 000 members, BOFEPUSU is a Federation made of five major public sector unions, including Botswana Landboards, Local Government and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Manual Workers Union, Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Public Sector Employees Union (BOPEU). The Federation’s involvement in active politics has sparked a war of words between the labour movement and government, with the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) Carter Morupisi warning that public service workers are not allowed to participate in active politics. Some key leaders of BOFEPUSU are civil servants who have been seconded to the labour movement.