Sunday, September 20, 2020

‘IMF, World Bank camping in Botswana’

The President of the Botswana Landboards Local Authorities and Health Workers Union’s (BLLAWU), Goretetse Kekgonegile, has alleged that the International Monetary Fund IMF and World Bank, the major forces of capitalism, have camped in Botswana.

Kekgonegile told the World Federation of Trade Unions meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, that the IMF and World Bank camped in the country with the sole intention of pressurising the country to reduce government spending through restructuring, outsourcing none core government mandates and privatisation of public enterprises.

“Botswana has succumbed to the pressure and is outsourcing some mandates previously under government’s ministries and privatising public enterprises,” said Kekgonegile.

He added that during the budget session, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning announced progress on the privatisation of Telecommunications Corporation to the effect that 5 percent of the shares have been reserved for citizens.

“It is common knowledge that 95 percent of the shares will go into partnerships of politicians and their imperialist partners,” he said.

To make matters worse, Kekgonegile said, the Botswana government has contrary to ILO interpretations and conventions declared teachers, diamond sorters, veterinary officers and herdsmen essential services.

“We in Botswana remain very concerned by the quietness of the African labour movement on this development given the massive atrocities suffered by public service workers as the aftermath of the historic Botswana 2011 public sector strike,”┬á he said.

Kekgonegile added that the labour movement  in Botswana needs an African response to this given the wrong precedent being set by this scenario in Africa as the right to strike remains the only tool workers can attain most with.

He added that Botswana has for some time basked in the glory of Bretton Woods’s institutions definition of a shining example of democracy, transparency, prudent financial management and well directed economy in Africa.

“All this praise ended upon a decision by Botswana to move all its diamond operations from London to Gaborone after more than 40 years of exporting raw diamonds to London for polishing and cutting for jewellery market. Imagine the massive exportation of jobs and wealth to Britain for all those 40 years which effectively kept food from many Batswana tables and perpetuated poverty,” he said.
Kekgonegile said that “the sufferings of the Swazi working class, brothers and sisters under an archaic and non progressive regime remain an injury to us”.

“It is in that context that we undertook a solidarity trip to Swaziland in 2012 and intend to continue the solidarity work with the 14th April Botswana Chapter of Swaziland Solidarity Network awareness activities,” he said.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.