Amid the acrimony that has publicly played itself out between the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower president, Alex Monchusi, and the CEO, Maria Machailo-Ellis, the organisation’s annual general meeting will finally take place on September 19.
This date was announced after a special general meeting of members that was held on July 30. The announcement of the date clears uncertainty that hung over the fate of the AGM as the CEO and the president couldn’t agree on an issue this basic. At the height of the said wrangling, Monchusi placed advertisements in newspapers under a BOCCIM letterhead to announce an August 8, 2013 AGM.
Machailo-Ellis says that she was taken aback when she saw the ads because the secretariat, which she is head of and which generates such material, had never sent out any such.
“I called Sunday Standard and the two other papers that ran the adverts to enquire and they said it was Monchusi who placed them and that he had said that if there was a problem with payment, he would pay himself,” she says.
The matter came up when the Council met and Monchusi is said to have been rapped on the knuckles. According to Machailo-Ellis, the Council ordered him to both pay for the adverts and apologise to the members for having misrepresented the organisation.
On the other hand, Monchusi says that there was absolutely nothing unprocedural about what he did.
“The constitution allows it,” he says.
He confirms that the Council did indeed discuss the matter and that he elected to pay for the adverts to eliminate a potential source of friction in an already divided house. He considers the monetary cost of the adverts (well over P20 000 by Sunday Standard’s estimate) to be less than that of the bad blood between him and his detractors. He adds that, for the same reason, he offered to apologise of his own volition.
“Nobody forced me to do it,” he says.
This AGM could quite possibly produce one very interesting result. Monchusi is running for re-election and if he wins would come back to work with the woman he tried to haul before a disciplinary hearing before attempting to suspend her from office.
In a statement that it released late last week announcing the date of the AGM, BOCCIM admits that it has had a rough couple of weeks.
“Regardless of such unfortunate reporting on the happenings at BOCCIM, Council would like to assure our valued members and stakeholders that BOCCIM as an organisation is still intact and united to serve its members. The BOCCIM CEO (Maria Machailo-Ellis) is at work and has never stopped coming to work. The CEO as usual continues to ensure that the BOCCIM Team under her leadership is on top of the BOCCIM mandate,” the statement reads.
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