The Botswana Diamond Workers’ Union (BDWU) branch Committee at the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) has expelled the General Secretary of the Union, Jacob Mpasopi, from their structure, in the drama that continues to unfold and engulfs the Union.
┬áAccording to a letter dated 11 April 2013, addressed to Mpasopi, copied to both the DTCB Management and the Branch membership as well as to the┬á Administration Officer, ┬á┬áthe basis of his expulsion was that he is causing trouble in the Union and destabilising the DTCB branch.
“This serves to inform you that you have been expelled from the DTCB branch membership with immediate effect as per the resolution taken by the General membership on the 19th March 2013…” read the expulsion letter, signed by Samuel Mandizha, Vice Chairperson on behalf of the now deposed Branch Secretary, Mogae Motshubi.
The letter continues, “Your expulsion comes as result of your continuous actions of bringing unrest in the branch and becoming a nuisance to the organisation.”
Mandizha also cautioned Mpasopi of the fact that the branch was very much aware that he had resigned from his position as the General Secretary on the 30th March, 2013 as indicated in a letter he addressed to the National Executive Committee (NEC) and copied to the DTCB branch.
When asked to confirm his expulsion BDWU General Secretary was curt. “There is no way a branch can expel a national secretary. However, it’s a matter that is duly before the NEC and perhaps the congress might have its own view about the whole issue,” said Mpasopi.
Regarding his resignation as referred to by Mandizha, his answer was in the affirmative but pointed out the General Council had asked him to hold on until the congress, which was slated for the past weekend but was deferred after opening sessions.
A source from DTCB branch that declined to be named, informed the Sunday Standard that prior to Mpasopi’s expulsion letter, the Branch Committee had written management a letter asking them to ignore correspondence from the NEC regarding dismissal of Kabelo Kelepile and Mogae Motshubi, Branch Chairperson and Secretary, respectively.
Management was then impelled to seek the position of the Union’s national leadership as to thoughts regarding the branch’s defiant attitude.
Following the confusion that ensued, Mpasopi set out to address an emergency general membership meeting, for which he sought permission from Management at the DTCB on the presumption, according to him, that there was a relapse in communication between NEC and the Branch, especially in light of the Congress arrangements.
However, Masopi’s bid was aborted as Management rejected the proposal to address the Union members through a letter emphasizing to him that the arrangement has to be done by the Branch Secretary in line with the usual protocol and practice.
Meanwhile, the effect of the wrangling within the union on the one hand and the standoff between the Management and the Union has stalled wage negotiations, which were already on course.
There is fear that should resolution of the impasse be prolonged, Management might be tempted to decide unilaterally on wages.
Efforts to solicit┬ácomment from Kago Mmopi, Communications Manager at the DTCB on behalf of Management, hit a snag as they preferred the enquiry to be in writing.