On Wednesday afternoon, some of the striking civil service workers in Gaborone went into the Main Mall where they smashed windows at Pep Stores, Cash Corp and the Botswana Building Society (BBS).
“We have not yet received any reports of people who have been hurt. No one has been detained or charged due to damage of property,” revealed Christopher Mbulawa, Public Relations Officer at Botswana Police Service.
The striking civil servants moved from Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) grounds, which is their everyday place of meeting, and entered the civic centre where they allegedly acted in a disorderly manner and kicked walls, barricaded the road in front of the civic centre and proceeded into the Main Mall.
“The estimated damage caused by the striking workers in our shop is about P15 000. Doors and windows are going to have to be replaced. For now its normal business as always,” said one of the senior workers at Pep Stores in the Main Mall.
On the same day in Francistown, the striking workers, despite the chilly weather, marched from the Chedu Choga grounds towards the city centre and camped at the Thapama Hotel circle. The workers had huge sticks, rocks and various weapons. Huge stones were scattered on roads at the Thapama circle, denying cars access and bringing traffic to a standstill.
Meanwhile in the capital, in order to prevent further damage to property, the Police moved in and drove the striking workers out of the Main Mall. Ultimately, the striking workers returned to the GSS grounds but Police later dispersed them as a precaution.
“As a result of this development and taking into account other similar incidents that have been taking place around the country, we would like to urge the leadership of the Unions to stop these provocative acts with immediate effect because failure to do so shall lead to the use of force to ensure the maintenance of law and order,” said Mbulawa. “As a peace loving nation, we certainly do not want the situation to escalate to this level, but Botswana Police Service shall not hesitate to act appropriately when the situation demands.”