Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Former BTU President slams gov’t for marginalizing local ethnic tribes

Japhta Radibe, the former Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) President, has lambasted government for oppressing local ethnic tribes by denying the teaching of their languages in schools.

Addressing teachers during the BTU Congress in Francistown last week, Radibe called for the recognition of marginalized ethnic tribes and that they should be accorded the respect they deserve.

“It is clear that the constitution of Botswana needs to be reviewed. I still fail to understand why the constitution does not embrace and recognize all tribes in the country. Why is it that the government continues to oppress other tribes by denying the teaching of their languages in schools?”
He said that it is worrying that some tribes are being accorded minority status.

Radibe also attacked the government for making unilateral decisions without due consultation. He bemoaned lack of consultation and transparency in the formulation of decisions regarding teachers’ welfare.

“Botswana has transformed into a country that does not involve citizens in decision making processes. Most decisions are taken whimsically. A clear example is the government decision to include the teaching profession into the essential services category,” he said.

Radibe raised concern over the deteriorating working conditions and poor salaries for teachers in schools, saying that it has led to poor morale and ultimately to poor results. He added that the worst affected are the primary school teachers.

“How does the government expect teachers to perform well if it does not want to improve their salaries and working conditions? The primary school teachers are the worst affected,” he said.
On a different note, Radibe pleaded with BTU members to unite and avoid conflicts for the union to be able to achieve its objectives. He also said that the members should empower themselves with knowledge so that they can be able to deal with their issues effectively.

“It is very important for you to empower yourselves with knowledge through reading for you to be able to voice and fight for your rights. You should also read the laws and familiarize yourselves with different sections in the constitution which will help you understand your rights better,” he said.

Radibe pleaded with the unions to give support to the teachers in Swaziland as they are currently working under a bad political environment.

“What is happening in Swaziland could happen to you. You must lend them your support in their fight against the adversities they are currently going through,” he said.

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