The Observer: BOFEPUSU leadership has become a liability

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 02 May 2017   |   By Simon Gabathuse
The Observer: BOFEPUSU leadership has become a liability

It appears there is nothing correct that BOFEPUSU is able to do. BOFEPUSU cannot just be ignored when it does wrong and yet it is the first organisation that jumps when something seems not to be done correctly. It is what we are taught growing up that before we make reference to other people’s wrongs, we must be sure that our slate is clean. The legal people call it equity. I simply call it doing things the right way. I have followed with keen interest BOFEPUSU’s journey after the BOPEU 2015 congress where their members resolved that BOPEU must disaffiliate from BOFEPUSU. The reasons presented for such a move and decision was to the effect that BOFEPUSU has not even once since its inception audited its financials. This is a big problem that cannot be ignored. If a public entity like BOFEPUSU, which is entirely dependent on public funds for its livelihood, decides not to account we are faced with a mammoth situation. Firstly, the argument of BOPEU then was not even this part; it was that though BOPEU and its subsidiaries are audited annually and the auditors more than satisfied with their financial processes, there were red flags that their mother body was not audited. This is not the part I am discussing; it is not my area to get involved. My concern is why would an organisation as huge as BOFEPUSU refuse to audit its books and not only that, refuse to make its financial reports public? BOFEPUSU must audit and it must make the audit information public. It is utterly wrong to want to spend public funds and not account it. It is more like the Government refusing to account for the tax payers’ money. We shout at the Government to account; we account at our workplaces, we even account at home to either the madam or the sir of the house. This is a given, we all have to account and BOFEPUSU is not and must not be an exception. Surely, like many others, I immediately smell a rat when an organisation refuses to audit books. What immediately comes to my mind is that there is looting, theft and corruption.

Secondly, there is the public assertion that BOFEPUSU should have gone for congress this past February and it has not done so. Not only has it not done so, it has not advanced reasons for not going to congress. It has not even set a date for the postponement; it looks like the congress will be held sometime in the future. And the future might be no more. It becomes difficult to comprehend why BOFEPUSU that is always crying out loud about the need for democracy and election of leaders doesn’t seem to practice what it preaches. This seems not to be the case. BOFEPUSU is more about names of individuals scattered around the fire place enjoying a piece of meat. Actually, BOFEPUSU is associated with individuals than the collective itself. By not going to congress, BOFEPUSU is denying those applicable to vote and elect their leadership. This is not democratic. This is despotic; it is dictatorial and must be condemned without apology offered. There is no how it is going to be correct to talk about the need to enhance and uphold democracy when BOFEPUSU itself is in the contrary. BOFEPUSU must lead by example otherwise it should just shut up when democracy is being discussed as to them democracy is an alien culture.

Thirdly, BOFEPUSU is said not have complied with the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC); a matter that even reached the courts. This is pathetic. How does BOFEPUSU not comply when BOFEPUSU is always the first organisation to cry foul when it looks like things are not done right? It is very agitating to learn, or to hear that BOFEPUSU had not done a very basic thing of submitting its audited membership figures to PSBC for verification as the Constitution of the PSBC stipulates. BOFEPUSU also failed to pay the set annual subscription fee to PSBC. How are these things even possible for an organisation that preaches legal adherence? Once more, BOFEPUSU must lead by example. It must not mess things up and want to apportion blame or play the victim. This is done by snobs and BOFEPUSU has become a snob. The public good will that BOFEPUSU has must not mislead it to think that it is the law onto itself. One will be interested to know if BOFEPUSU has even filed annual returns as per the societies act regulating societies in Botswana. I have no thought of apology to suggest that they have not; besides BOFEPUSU does not seem to be doing anything as it has to be done. It is an organisation in some dreamland where the laws are applicable to everyone else except BOFEPUSU. This scenario if not capped will escalate to individual unions and there shall be chaos. Finally, we must talk about these without fear. If we decide not to point out these anomalies, we are rather building and creating a monster that will one-day wipe us all off. We are also actually in the process destroying the organisation that has become so personalised that sometimes I confuse it for a private company. Members of individual unions that are affiliated to BOFEPUSU must demand accountability; they must demand audits as to how their monies are being spent. They should not apologise and sound apologetic for asking questions about their money.

They must also in the same process demand adherence to the constitution of BOFEPUSU which largely includes holding a congress and giving others the opportunity to contest. They must tell their leaders, if at all they are still fit to be called leaders that they were not born to lead BOFEPUSU. It is not a birth right or some form of royal entitlement. They must then ask and question their leaders as to why such a simple thing yet mostly important as to submitting audited membership figures for verification to PSBC was not done. They must also ask why their leaders failed to pay the annual subscription fees. Whose responsibility was it? Such a person must be held accountable. Leaving matters such as these to chance is equally destroying BOFEPUSU. It is actually selling a lie to the ordinary Motswana.

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