Monday, June 1, 2020

Warring undertakers refuse to bury their differences

By Arnold Letsholo

Funeral Parlors Association of Botswana (FPAB), an association for local funeral parlours, may be going under as its members are divided.

The association has split into two splinter groups being ‘Barata Association’ and ‘Barata Madi’ Association.

While the association’s substantive president, Bushie Mosala, claims ignorance as to who the alleged blocs are, its treasurer, Jacqueline Sibozi, said Barata Association refers to her own Warona Funeral parlour and other members and Barata Madi refers to President’s Mosala Funeral Directors, his Deputy, Boy Mokgwath’s, Travellers Funerals  and Lengie De Kok’s Lengie Funeral Parlour.

From these expressions a genuine observation could be that lack of communication becomes apparent as the paramount cause for the shambles.

This publication learns from the interviews conducted separately that each faction has engaged legal brains and court cases are looming.

The association’s bank account is not functioning despite the fact that a new deal between the association and the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) workers’ union is on.

The terms of the contract, as Mosala explained, are that a client deposits money into the association’d account. The funds should thereafter be transferred to the underwriter insurance so that when a funeral is undertaken, a nearby funeral parlour would carry out the funeral arrangements and later deposit a percentage of profits into the association’s account.

The funds are therefore lying uninsured in the association’s account as the signatories were unwilling to sign for flow of procession. When meetings were called, the President claims, the Secretary and treasurer are alleged to have absented themselves without apologies.

“The Secretary and his cohorts are out to rupture our association. He and the treasurer absented themselves from meetings without apologies, intending to deter resolution from being taken and transactions made,” Mosala claims.

“According to our association’s constitution, the electoral general meeting votes President and Vice President. They in turn nominate the Secretary and the Treasurer. When the two frequently absented themselves a decision was made to dismiss them,” said Mosala.

He said they thereafter approached their bank- First National Bank of Botswana – to change signatories. The other bloc, also, learnt after receiving the expulsion letters that the President and his Deputy had approached the bank. They also went to the bank and protested the action.

“We have now filed an urgent application with the high-court. The duo should explain why it should not pay the funds our parlours have paid to cover up for the association’s misdemeanors of not insuring funds and assisting clients,” Mosala fumed.

He emphasized as fact that the funds in the account from BMC is not for association or its members, but for the clients.

But the association’s Treasurer refutes allegations that they absented themselves. Instead, she said there is no transparency in the association as the President and his deputy run the association on their own.

“There are a lot of things they know nothing about as the association; including the BMC deal. There are no scheduled meetings and adhoc meetings are the order of the day. Sometimes they call you around 10 and tell you lets meet at 1130 at Wimpy in Game City. At times I would be in Moshupa while the Secretary would be elsewhere. That has make it difficult for us to turn up for meetings,” she says.

She said Mosala approached BMC union alone.

“He probably told them that he has association which has members throughout the country. It now seems the deal is for him. “The terms of contract are not clear to us. We feel something must be happening that might harm the association,” said Sibozi.

It has been a while, she said that a lot has been happening in the association that the masses knew nothing about; sometimes very questionable, but members have not been reacting.

“Now that there is action as we countered the unconstitutional change of signatories they feel it is the two of us who are causing confusion into the association. We have the backing of the masses,” she said.

She said they are ready for any court case as this would lead to talking, instead of just seeing things happen without their understanding. In fact, they have as disgruntled association members made some contributions to raise funds for legal assistance.

Her sentiments are echoed by the Secretary, Philisani Amos of Genius Coffins, who said the President and his deputy’s non-transparency and their unconstitutional actions have led them to where they are.

While the duo says it has the backing of the constitution, his view is that the association should stand up and ensure things are done properly, for if things continue as they are then the duo can make any decisions excluding the masses. He said they are at an advanced stage in preparing for any case.

The President dismisses as untrue, aphorism that they did not understand the terms of the contract.

“They have signed for it. That is why it is running. If they did not understand they could have asked. He asks why they say they do not understand it while they take the funds that BMC deposited into the account as theirs,’ president of the association argues.

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