The leadership of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has turned down an invitation to keep the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) company as it marks 50 years of existence at a celebratory ceremony to be held later this month.
The Union has disclosed to the BDP, through a letter dated 9th of February, the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Festinah Bakwena, is demanding an explanation from BOPEU executives, Andrew Motsamai and Masego Mogwera, for taking part in a BDP victory celebration for the Kweneng East constituency.
Both Motsamai and Masego Mogwera are civil servants who have been redeployed to BOPEU.
According to Bakwena, public servants are not supposed to take part in active politics.
In her correspondence to the Union leadership last week, Bakwena referred the Union officials to a previous communication by Eric Molale, the Permanent Secretary to the President, informing “public servants to desist from engaging in active political participation”.
The DPSM’s stance has forced the Union to turn down the BDP’s invitation until BOPEU has formally replied Bakwena’s inquiries.
“We are, however, constrained to honour your invitation to your celebration because we have received a letter from the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) asking us to explain whether it is true or false that we participated in the recent BDP victory celebrations in Kopong,” states Motsamai in his letter to the BDP secretary general, Mpho Balopi.
Motsamai says that, as it stands, the Unions hands are tied and the best they can do without aggrieving the employer is to wish the BDP a happy anniversary.
“We are as such in a dilemma as to how to honour your invitation whilst not at the same time aggrieving the Director. We nonetheless wish your organization a happy 50th Anniversary celebration,” the letter read in part.
Last year, the Union and DPSM clashed again after it emerged that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) was mobilising to resuscitate the Umbrella talks immediately after they had collapsed.
By then, government accused public officers running the federation of active involvement in politics.
In response, the Union countered by also throwing an accusation of interference with Union business against government. It further contended that BOFEPUSU was not a government department and it was, therefore, not accountable to the DPSM director.