Thursday, May 19, 2022

Defiant strikers arrested

About twenty-seven public servants, who defied the Union leadership urging them to return to work, were arrested on Monday afternoon in Gaborone while gathered at the usual assembly point.

The Unions have taken a resolution that the strike should be suspended while some workers felt that, to them, it would be unfair because they would no longer be in contact with their fellow workers whom they have been meeting with in the struggle for the 16 percent increment.

The protesters indicated that they had the mission that ‘an injury to one, is an injury to all’ but now felt that it was one man for himself as they are supposed to re-apply, with some already back to work.

Police Public Relations Officer, Christopher Mbulawa, confirmed the arrests, saying about 27 sector strike employees who refused to obey the police order had been arrested.

Mbulawa said that some of the protesters resisted and formed small groups while police waited to see them dispersed.

He said Union leaders are the ones who suspended the strike and therefore they (police) do not expect to see anyone who had not applied to gather.

“That would then be an illegal gathering and that is why we have arrested some,” said Mbulawa.
Amongst the people the police arrested is the BOFEPUSU Regional Chairperson, Wabakwa Mbise, who, at the time of the interview with Mbulawa, was still detained.

Mbise indicated that the police had just found him speaking to a certain councillor and called him for arrest. He said maybe the police had targeted him since they said they wanted only him and left the person he was speaking to.

Mbise said he does not know why they were arrested, saying only the police could say because he said it seemed most of the people arrested were just passing via Gaborone Secondary School Grounds.
Mbise said that at the time he was giving an interview to the Telegraph, they were being questioned one by one.

Some police officers, however, indicated that Mbise had been very cooperative with them during the day and would be released.

Masekgo Mogwera, the president of BOFEPUSU, arrived at the police station to hear firsthand about the arrest of the 27 protesters.

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