Botswana’s biggest trade union, the National Amalgamated local & Central Government Workers Union, has called on its members and other Batswana who have registered for elections not to vote for the A-Team faction of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.
The union’s Administrative Officer, Samuel Molaodi, issued a press statement on Friday calling on “all those who have registered to vote to make sure that they vote against members of the A-team in the upcoming elections and restore democracy. It is only through unity that good can prevail over evil, democracy can triumph over autocracy, and freedom can overcome oppression”.
Molaodi stated that “the 2009 elections are by far the most important in the history of the country. The country has seen every facet of Government being militarized. Civil liberties are being eroded at an alarming rate. We have known all along that the President has dictatorial and totalitarian tendencies, but we never imagined that the erosion of liberties would be this rapid“.
Molaodi further states: “A couple of years ago, Honourable Member of Parliament Mfa warned us that when Khama takes over the only people who will enjoy democracy are the dead and prisoners. His words have turned out to be prophetic. The President’s recent suspension of Gomolemo Motswaledi from the Botswana Democratic Party, for criticizing a law firm for what the latter perceived as unprofessional conduct, is most shocking and the clearest indication that the dictator is starting to show his true colours.
“The lame statement broadcast on national radio and national television on 21 August, 2009 is yet another incident of abuse of state media by the current Government. It’s a blatant abuse of state media to broadcast a statement by the President about petty internal party squabbles. It is symptomatic of a leader with extremely poor judgment and one who underestimates the intelligence of Batswana. The delegates in Kanye spoke resoundingly against these types of abuses. They rejected nepotistic rule in favour of democracy, yet the President continues to operate as if their voice does not mean anything.”
The labour union, however, argues that Khama is “not entirely to be blamed for suffering from delusions of grandeur”. They say the biggest culprits are members of the A-Team faction who they branded as “sycophants and cronies the President surrounds himself with”.
In the press statement, Molaodi says, “the country must unite against this lot, because they have endangered our democracy. The blame lies at their doorstep because they have failed to provide frank and honest counsel to the President. They have taken leave from their conscience and continue to religiously defend the most atrocious abuse of power.”