THE OBSERVER: BOFEPUSU is stuck in a box

SHARE   |   Monday, 20 June 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
Some of BOFEPUSU leaders outside court Some of BOFEPUSU leaders outside court

BOFEPUSU is behaving like a scorned lover. It is unable to move forward. Its charlatans have failed to prove beyond reasonable leadership intends that they can look and behave beyond the existence of BOPEU within BOFEPUSU. There is nothing that BOFEPUSU has done for its members since BOPEU pulled out. BOFEPUSU needs to appreciate that BOPEU has moved forward and that they at BOFEPUSU must move forward.  The problems besieging BOFEPUSU are too much to be ignored, it has not only deviated from its mandate as a federation, and it has also in the process become paranoid and devoid of truth. In its paranoia, BOFEPUSU does its best to attach any ailment in its disfavour to BOPEU. This is not helping the situation. It was in December 2015 that BOPEU pulled out of BOFEPUSU and yet BOFEPUSU is still mourning. In their quest to justify their point they have often moved to the personality of Andrew Motsamai. To try their best to attack the personality of Andrew Motsamai and other BOPEU leaders. This has brought nothing else but further annihilation.  This has presented BOFEPUSU as a cry baby which depended largely on BOPEU being within its fold to a point that the pulling out of BOPEU has thrown BOFEPUSU into full confusion, disarray and lack of tact. In being faced with this situation, which appears to have also thinned BOFEPUSU coffers, an upright leader stands up and come with means and ways to survive the fallout. This is the part that BOFEPUSU has failed to attend to with maturity. It has opted for the easiest route; to cry!

In an interesting turn of events, largely coming from failure to manage the BOPEU exit; having blamed BOPEU for being a darling of the government, the most absurd thing to have ever come out of trade unionism in Botswana, BOFEPUSU has now itself embarked on a journey that looks more like a duplicating a behaviour they have been blaming BOPEU for. If what BFTU recently attributed to regarding the recent ILO Geneva gathering comes out to be true, then one can only look and laugh out loud at the contradiction of a federation that has overtime presented itself to eat from a different dish with the Government. One can only assume the followers are being fooled into believing any genuine being on the part of BOFEPUSU. BOFEPUSU is coming across as an organisation led by those who are simply using it to pursue their hidden and desired goals. I continue that BOFEPUSU must loudly pronounce that it is not a political party. Though there is nothing wrong with aligning themselves with a particular political party of their choice, BOFEPUSU must look beyond that and must use case studies from surrounding countries to make reasonable choices.  Trade Unions by nature are always at logger heads with the Government. But trade unions the world over are also careful not to confuse the Government and the ruling party. Trade unions are further forevermore careful not to confuse being at loggerheads with the government as meaning being opposition party activists.

The point of BOPEU that trade unions should not be politically aligned must be viewed with seriousness and logical consideration. Trade unions must protect the rights of workers regardless of the political membership of their members. The current global space is different from the history of class struggle which was attached to political belonging. The modern day bread and butter issues are not fought along parties but rather along trade union activism. This distinguishing is very important for us to entangle the problem that has become BOFEPUSU. I am using this example because in their quest to present BOPEU as being unfavourable to the nation, they have presented themselves as friends and partners of opposition party politics; until only of recent where they seem to have moved to be friends of the Government. One might not be wrong to see this as looking for relevance in a space that was in the first place diluted to become irrelevant by the very federation in question.

The notion should be clear that in the event that the opposition takes over power, the UDC will have to be party to every single decision of the government then. BOFEPUSU must not create a situation where they will not be able to differ with the Government of the day simply because they consider themselves to have ushered such Government in. Trade unions must not be run by emotions when reason is readily available. The case in point is the recent outburst of the Botswana Mining Workers Union who are calling for the resignation of the BCL General Manager; Dan Mahupela and that he be replaced with the former BCL General Manager; Montwedi Mphathi, the first Motswana to hold that position. It must be noted that during the reign of Mphathi, BMWU was up in arms that he should resign or be sacked. BMWU is now back on its loud voices that Mahupela should be replaced with Mphathi. This childish behaviour of calling for a replacement whenever there are challenges to be attended to is lacking in maturity. This behaviour is not different from that of BOFEPUSU which only months ago labelled BOPEU a darling of the Government. BOFEPUSU is now being blamed by BFTU for being the same. This behaviour is however consistent with the culture of BOFEPUSU.

The point I am driving home is that there is no clear agenda of what exactly BOFEPUSU is looking for.  It appears in their confusion they can only seek relevance by insulting the leadership of BOPEU. There is nothing that BOFEPUSU has done in its recent months except focusing its energies on vile attacking BOPEU. In the process, BOFEPUSU has forgotten to explain what it stands for. If one was to wake up tomorrow to hear that the UDC is being dissolved, BOFEPUSU will surely not have a purpose. BOFEPUSU must be advised to move beyond crying for BOPEU. BOFEPUSU can’t afford to have all its life belonging dedicated to castigating BOPEU. This surely can’t be an expected life of a federation. BOFEPUSU is stuck in a box, is suffocating and it must be helped out.

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