Some members of the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) say history is on the verge of repeating itself. Prior to its last elective congress some members of the BCL union branch booed the then Secretary General Bob Malele and the then Publicity Secretary accusing them of masterminding the suspension of the three members of the BCL Brach. The branch was on the side of the then and current President of the Union, Jack Tlhagale. Currently, some members of the union are reported to be baying for the head of Tlhagale and Secretary General Moffat Ramokate.
“We are going to remove Jack and Moffat, the way we did with Bob Malele,” vows a source who offered an interview on condition that, he should not be named. He accuses Tlhagale of betraying the trust of the members. He alleges that Tlhagale’s leadership has aggrieved most union members. He further describes the union president a corrupt leader who along with sycophants is milking the union funds. Tlhagale is also accused of using union member’s subscription of undertaking trips which are not of real benefit to the members.
“He is a dictator who is only focused on his self-interest. He controls the Secretary General Moffat Ramokate to make decisions that will ensure his stay in power for as long as he wishes,” adds the source. He revealed that Branch Committees are seeking to pass a motion of no confidence against Tlhagale and Ramokate.
“The Union has not held the National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings for the past three months but the constitution insists on a meeting every month. Union members demand schemes that will benefit them especially in the area of housing,” says the source. The Union is also accused of failing to submit the financial reports to the Registrar of Societies for the past four years.
For his part, Tlhagale describes all accusation against him as baseless. “I can’t surround myself with sycophants because all the NEC members are elected by delegates at congress based on their abilities. This is to undermine the thinking ability of the delegates,” says Tlhagale.
He further explained that trips are budgeted for based on the demand of that particular trip therefore there is no way he can misuse union funds on unnecessary trips. As NEC members, he argues that, they are duty bound to check their branches in Jwaneng, Orapa and others. Failure to do that will amount to failure to execute their mandate while they were in office. He also insists that they have submitted all the financial reports to the Registrar of Societies in time.
On housing schemes, he says all the proposals from different hardware stores were not favorable. “They were going to make a lot of profit from our members and their prices were exorbitant hence we do not want to subject our members to unnecessary debts,” explained Tlhagale. Efforts to call Moffat Ramokate were futile as his phone did not go through by the time we went to print.