Sunday, May 22, 2022

‘Government, unions should exercise restraint’ ÔÇô Gaborone

Ntlo ya Dikgosi chairperson Puso Gaborone has called on Government and the aggrieved public sector unions at the heart of the public service strike to exercise restraint, urging dialogue as the only way to an amicable solution.

Speaking at the 6th meeting of the 2nd Ntlo ya Dikgosi on Monday, Gaborone said a friendly compromise would end a tussle which has at times teetered on the brink of chaos.

“As Batswana we should learn and keep what our ancestors and past leaders have taught us to uphold. Dialogue and compromise are essential ingredients in this saga. As a united force we should embrace that ‘ntwa kgolo ke ya molomo’ and that ‘tshere; tshere’ are important phrases from our ancestors whose advice we must stick to,” said Gaborone.

Public service unions under the auspices of Botswana Federation of Public Employees Organisations (BOFEPUSU) and the Botswana government have for over two months now been at a deadlock over a salary increase.

Schools and hospitals have been paralysed, resulting in a crisis in education and patients dying unattended on their sickbeds, according to reports.

Gaborone said seven weeks have passed without any sight of a solution to the dispute. He said the public is agitated over the impasse, as is Ntlo ya Dikgosi.

“Because of this deadlock we as a nation are faced with considerable obstacles tasks which need to be navigated with care,” said the Batlokwa paramount chief, prodding his colleagues in Ntlo ya Dikgosi to remain neutral over the issue.

He said the dispute has attracted from across the political divide, politicians who are eager to remain relevant with the masses. He cautioned paramount chiefs to remain apolitical lest they find themselves in the cold when the dispute ends.

“Schools and hospitals have been disrupted as a result, leaving our nation desperately in need of assistance. But as the face of nation we as Dikgosi must remain neutral to keep the integrity of the institution. Tempers have been high but as a nation we should control our emotions,” Gaborone observed, saying such a gesture would keep peace loving Botswana intact.

While urging peace and tranquility over the issue, Gaborone also lashed out at the leadership for lack of consultation, insisting Ntlo ya Dikgosi was the pillar of the nation and as such should not have been overlooked.

He said after visiting countries like Zambia, he noted the respect which the institution was given because of its important role in the lives of the communities. “This is unlike in our country where a chief is respected in his presence and when we part he is a nonentity,” he lamented.

“The Somalis even visited us of late to benchmark with our institution although the leadership takes little recognition of us. If we do not take our institution seriously it would not be long before other countries capitalize on this anomaly and steal our indigenous processes and knowledge,” Gaborone warned.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper