Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Botswana going the Zimbabwe route – unionist

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Ronald Majongwe has warned that if Batswana do not reign in President Ian Khama the country will end up like Zimbabwe. Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard on the sideline of the May Day celebrations where he was the guest speaker, Majongwe said a number of instructions and directives had been issued as policies which goes against the spirit of consultation.

“Zimbabwe might be slightly worse than Botswana at the moment but looking at the trend things are not looking up. I really wanted Botswana to become the country that many of us look up to because sometime back Botswana was a good example where dialogue and consultation were respected,” he said. He said comparing former President Festus Mogae’s era to that of President Ian Khama, his conclusion is that Botswana is slowly becoming a military state.

“People might not notice it because the changes are happening from within but most of us who understand Botswana and analyze how things are happening and how certain instructions are delivered, at this rate, 10-15 years from now if Batswana will be where Zimbabwe is.”

He said, “the government must understand that the unions are made up by the people who are the citizen and citizen have rights and those rights must be respected. The fact that they are government employees does not make them second class. They must be allowed to echo their sentiments and they must also be allowed to raise flags where they noticed things that are not going well,” he said. He added that trade unions are critical as institutions of change and progress and must be allowed to articulate a particular view point from workers side.

“Trade union does not exist in isolation, we have regional cooperation where we share opinions and how certain things should be done for responsible trade unions. Trade unions are simply saying look at our welfare, look at our salary so that we take Botswana forward. This is a country too beautiful to suffer and go through the tragedy that their sister country, Zimbabwe went through. Botswana could learn a lot from the mistakes that Zimbabwe made and try not to fall in the same trap,” he said.

“Khama is one of the presidents respected in Zimbabwe because of the principled position he has taken on Zimbabwe but it should not only end in Zimbabwe, he must take those principled position in his own country as well. I do not fear that Khama might ban me in his country like he did with others we know about. I am a citizen of the region and I want to believe that trade unions must not be scared to speak up. Khama is my president and when I am speaking I am speaking directly to him at least tomorrow he will listen and say there is this young man from Zimbabwe who said this,” he said.

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