Former Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) President, Japhta Radibe has come out with guns blazing accusing the government of hypocrisy. Giving his solidarity message to the 13th BFTU Triennial Congress in Francistown last week, Radibe did not mince words when he said that Botswana government should stop being a hypocrite masquerading as a democracy.
“The government of Botswana should not call itself a democratic state when it is not. When the top brass eats a larger pie, the workers should also have their fair share. It is upon you as workers to rise above the occasion and fight for your rights. BFTU should utilize the skills and experience it acquired over the long years of its existence to fight government for the rights of workers,” he said to a loud approval of BFTU members. He urged BFTU to organize a social dialogue with organizations such as BOCCIM where it can express its grievances and concerns. He further said workers should press hard against government to account for the inequalities that currently haunt the country. He said that government initiatives such as Ipelegeng have proved futile and are milking the government millions of funds. “I completely abhor Ipelegeng because it is slavery. We currently have huge numbers of youth who are roaming the streets and unemployed while the government splashes funds into the Ipelegeng initiative. I want you to stand up as unions to speak against Ipelegeng because it is some form of slavery.
It is sad that although the government is splashing millions funds in such projects, workers continue to earn peanuts,” he said. Radibe further urged all the unions in the country to unite and pressurize the government to meet the demands of the working class. He said that the government should take into cognition the fact that workers play a pivotal role in any country’s economy. He added that it sad to note that most of the country’s wealth is enjoyed by foreigners while Batswana languish in poverty. “We should not allow international criminals to enjoy our own resources while we sit and fold our arms. Right now the tourism sector is only benefiting the foreigners while locals are reeling in poverty. This should not be tolerated,” said a clearly angry Radibe.
He also called on the unions to pressurize the government to review its constitution as it has turned into a tool of abuse benefiting those in the high echelons of power. He further expressed disappointment over the government decision to postpone the Francistown West Bye elections saying that it is a clear indication that some people in power are abusing the constitution to their own advantage. “To tell you the truth I was disappointed by the recent postponement of the Francistown West Bye election because I had wanted to cast my vote. It is upon you as unions to unite and fight all these evil acts that are currently haunting the country,” he concluded.