Suspended High Court Judge, Key Dingake, says there is need for the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) and the government to work together in order to advance the welfare of employees.
Addressing the BOPEU central executive committee conference which was held in Francistown recently, Dingake urged the two parties to find common ground and iron out their differences as their differences have a bearing on employees.
Dingake also said in order for the country to make progress, there is need for both parties to treat each other with respect and humility. “Both of you need each other to advance the agenda of the country and to do so you need to respect each other,” said Dingake.
Amongst other things, Dingake counselled the executive committee saying evidence should take precedence over ill-will.
“Do not make demands that cannot pass the test of reasonableness and rationality. To the unions, every position you take, you must justify it. Every demand that you make, you must justify it. You do not justify it by common sense. You justify it by evidence,” urged Dingake.
He also urged the public service to avoid the habit of hindering or discrediting government policies. “As for workers, do not make demands that are not validated by or driven by evidence,” he advised.
Whilst admitting that the attitude of the law towards trade unions was unfriendly, he stated that government and unions must view themselves as partners in advancing the cause of the nation.
Dingake and three other judges, Modiri Letsididi, Mercy Garekwe and Rainer Busang were suspended from the bench by President Ian Khama last year. After suspending the four judges, Khama appointed a tribunal to investigate them for possible misconduct. They are alleged to have disrespected the Chief Justice and occupied residential accommodation provided by and paid for by government while at the same time receiving housing allowances from government.