Saturday, February 27, 2021

Clearly Government doesn’t care about civil servants

My heart goes out to the public servants. Ke lela le bone. Their employer is unreasonably vengeful and inconsiderate. It must be really painful to work for such ungrateful and arrogant government with an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. Clearly, our government does not have the best interests of public servants at heart. Well, why should I even be mentioning the heart when it is evidently clear ours is a heartless government? The Khama-led administration has waged a determined war against the working class in Botswana. There is no longer any sense of prestige and achievement in finding employment with government. Our government is abusive to the workers. In fact, it has now become a sin to work for government. The unemployed are better off.

The poor are lucky. It has now become more rewarding to be a destitute than to be employed by government. The president’s associates appear to be the only ones living in the Biblical Canaan where milk and honey flow in abundance. They reward themselves through economic crime with full knowledge they have a fortress in the president. In all these, public servants, who by the way are the drivers of the country’s economy, have been reduced to rotten garbage. President Khama has mastered the art of patronising and even victimising public servants. In trying to endear himself to the masses that are unemployed, Khama has made it look like it is the problem of the working class that some people are unemployed. It is so sad. Look, government is the largest employer in the country and while at it, it is worth mentioning that the government is not doing the citizens any favour by employing them.

It is the duty of a government to create jobs and employ its people. Any government that gets into power has a duty to employ the people and it is so disheartening how Batswana tend to think and believe they owe government some gratitude for their employment. If Batswana were not such an irritatingly docile and foolishly submissive nation, they would know by now that they do not have to ask for jobs but should instead demand them from government. Batswana are just something out of this world I tell you. They slumber on their rights. They allow government to treat them like monkeys who cannot complain at being thrown peanuts. Batswana, as Gomolemo Motswaledi would say, are comfortable at being uncomfortable. Look, no government can function without personnel. It is not only the people who need jobs but rather, government too needs the people to carry out these jobs. This mentality of believing the employer is doing the employee a favor is the one that encourages many employers, including our government, to pee on the workers.

Ever since the massive industrial strike of 2011, Khama’s administration has made it a point to punish the workers. Khama seems to be of the opinion the workers were not entitled to demonstrate their frustration and displeasure through withholding their labor services. In fact, Khama is on record as having labeled the striking workers unpatriotic and unreasonable in their demands for salary adjustments. Ever since, Khama has taken the war to the labor movements and made Batswana to believe union leaders are enemy of the State while they are only advocating and advancing the needs of the workers. He has ignored the workers and shifted all his efforts and priorities on the unemployed who seem to believe he is their Jesus and the answer to their plight. Khama has now made it look fashionable to be unemployed as he spends most of his time mingling and shaking hands with the unemployed at Kgotla meetings during the week while public servants would be busy sweating their butts off to drive the country’s economy.

It is shocking how Khama finds no shame in the fact that ever since he took over the reins from Mogae in 2008, public servants’ salaries have remained stagnant while the cost of living has been skyrocketing with no signs of the marathon slowing down any time soon. The painful part about it all is that money is not really a factor in all these non increment of salaries. There is enough money to be thrown in the government wage expenditure and cushion the public servants. The only thing that is lacking is political will and empathy from government. The cost of commodities has been increasing year in year out. Government has increased the price for all its services including penalty fees for road traffic offenders but there is nothing to show for all the revenue accumulated by government. Our roads are not maintained. The living conditions of public servants have not improved and still the government doesn’t see the need to top salaries. Public servants are demoralized and our leaders’ thinking capability is on pause mode and can’t realize this demoralization affects productivity in government offices. The teachers are treated like dirt and our foolish government gets surprised when students don’t perform well at examinations.

How does the government expect disgruntled and lowly paid teachers to produce passing students? It’s so unfortunate that the Finance Minister wants to take the nation for fools. During his budget speech on Monday he was telling us that he cannot talk about salaries because the bargaining council is the one that is supposed to deal with the government on the matter. The bargain council that he is talking about is the same one that his government is shunning and not attending its meetings. Again, the bargain council can only do that while the final decision in Botswana always seem to lie with the president. We still remember very well how President Khama addressed a Kgotla meeting and talked about public servants’ salaries without the blessings of the bargain council that the minister wants us to believe it holds some relevance. While I empathize with the workers, I need to tell them that a part of me feels they deserve the ill-treatment meted out on them by the government. For as long as they remain divided in their demands from government, they will endure this abuse until Jesus Christ comes back. Workers need to speak in one voice and fight for their rights. They cowardice will never yield any meaningful results. Public servants must register and vote out this heartless government otherwise they are not deserving of our sympathy and support

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