Saturday, December 9, 2023

Khama should stop his hypocrisy on public politics

The recent appointments of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 2014 general election rejects, victims and activists into the public service by President Ian Khama are an insult to the toiling and working class. The public service has hundreds of skilled, experienced and committed workers who should have been given priority and appointed into these positions, especially that President Khama has recently condemned politicising the public service.

BOPEU members and other public service employees have toiled for years with little or no promotion and this was a grand opportunity for their progression. This was going to boost their morale and even raise their productivity levels as the public service is grossly demoralised and demotivated by the BDP government management style. These appointments come just hours after President Khama rebuked BOPEU members at their 72 Convention in Palapye on partisan politics. Khama said, “We pride ourselves as a Nation for building a public service that is politically non-aligned.

This is something that we should not only cherish but we also need to do all that is within our control to ensure that our public service is not politicised. It is within this context that we should continue to uphold the Public Service Charter principle that points to neutrality. I have noticed that in recent times during the build up to this year’s elections, some, but not all, seemed to be drifting away from the purpose for which unions were established and instead pursued a political agenda. I want to appeal to you and your members to recommit yourselves to the principle of neutrality.

We cannot, as a Nation, afford to have a politically inclined public service. Such a development would paralyse the public service and ultimately compromise national stability. The day you allow political differences to become your agenda will kill co-operation. Political agendas will blind you from what is reality and purpose. The purpose of a union is to strive through negotiations, better conditions of service for your members to a point that is affordable. Political agendas bring about demands which are deliberately unrealistic and unaffordable in order to give the impression to members that the Government is holding back. Here I am talking about one or two other unions and not yours. You are public servants in a public service and not political servants…”

Hours after his official remarks, he then appoints BDP activists into public service. Is this not politicising the public service? This is now clear that by partisan politics, Khama meant opposition politics and not BDP. The appointments are also a clear indication on how the President can abuse the prerogatives and privileges he enjoys as the state President as he appoints and creates posts willy-nilly. Khama’s action is far from satisfying the Public Service Charter he preached at BOPEU.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) on the other hand, has never forbid public service workers from expressing their political rights, as it was formed by their influence. Workers have to unite against the BDP misrule and tactics of trying to divide them under the guise of politics. Every worker has a right to vote and even endorse a party of his /her choice. Now that the workers have chosen UDC, Khama should not threaten them as his government has enjoyed their patronage before. The workers have chosen UDC as their political home and Khama should respect this and desist from intimidating them.

UDC has made it clear that it will stand against anti labour practices as perpetrated by the BDP government. Workers cannot continue to be exploited under bad working and living conditions, while the BDP continues to loot the wealth that the poor workers’ have created, including stealing their jobs. The BDP has made the workers to continue to slip deeper and deeper into a quagmire of cyclic poverty trap. The workers’ hope is now UDC as they march in unity for their final emancipation in 2019. That time is just around the corner and the heavy chains of slavery working conditions of the BDP government will be broken and unshackled by the UDC government.

The recent appointments have in fact clearly shown workers that they are on the right path with UDC, and not BDP. Associating with the BDP nowadays is extremely risky as the party is on quicksand mode and will go down slowly with whoever clings to it, until you painfully sink, choke and drown in 2019. Everyone will be safe at UDC, including those running away from the sinking BDP. Forewarned is forearmed. To all workers of Botswana, creators of Botswana wealth, UDC wishes you, your families and friends a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. The coming year is another strategy year for UDC to work harder for workers’ emancipation from the BDP government exploitation and slave wages.

Thank you

Justin Hunyepa – UDC Labour Secretary


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