Every so often, it is said ‘time will tell’. My revolutionary mind is still crammed with memories of last year, 2017. I penned as a guest columnist to your paper an article titled ‘the departure of Motsamai gives pundits an opportunity to prove themselves’. Our soi-disant experts would be quick to contend that twelve months is too short a time to judge them. This rejoinder is but a clarion call. We the members of BOPEU in particular need to be honest to ourselves, to our trade union and more importantly to the nation of Botswana. The divergence to what we were used to is a far cry. I proclaimed then, as I do now, that the departure of Comrade Andrew Motsamai gives pundits an opportunity to prove themselves and indeed; pundits have proved themselves. They have dismally failed. The whole fracas was inevitably going to be a leadership test and this is what we are faced with. Moreover, if we the members of BOPEU fail to grasp and comprehend the context in which we find ourselves, then we might as well just disband, for our existence, as a union will be nothing else but a fallacy. We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
What we are dealing with is a leadership vacuum, a leadership problem. That it is almost three months with disputed headship is not really the problem, the problem is why are we at this stage? We are at this stage because when some of us tried to point out that Andrew Motsamai is not the problem, we were littered with all kinds of thrash names. I was at one point even asked to justify my membership simply because I refused to go with the false narrative that was being built by those who simply arrived at BOPEU when it was already flourishing and they had nothing else in mind but to take over the echelons of power. This is a problem of many organisations, and if we as members of BOPEU fail to address our situation, we do injustice to the many organisations that will fall for the trap set by those whose only intentions were to profit from the hard work that was exerted by the leadership of Comrade Motsamai. That has become the nature of voluntary organisations. Sadly, we have to remind all those who refused to listen when we tried to engage their thoughts. We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
Please allow me to give an example about the BOPEU qualified audit report, which we have just been given access to, for purposes of preparing for the planned elective congress. And to particularly note the interpretations of article 6 (ii) of the financials on page 34 which says that an amount of BWP 939, 618.00 was not fully accounted for. Considering that the National Executive Committee had an extra year to provide all the required documents and receipt to close this matter, this is more than scandalous, it is irresponsible and show nothing else but lack of attention to detail. Of all the many years that I have been a member of BOPEU, since it evolved from Botswana Civil Service Association (BCSA) this has never happened. I need not point out the obvious that these that we are seeing never happened under the leadership of Comrade Motsamai, all these are happening under this new regime that had only one intention and purpose in firing Comrade Motsamai. The current regime simply wanted power, they wanted to rule, but they never had an idea of what to do with power once attained, they never knew and will never know how to rule. Comrades just wanted to be seen to be leaders. They are not leaders, they cannot lead, hey have to be lead as they were lead. We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
Further, the impairments of investments in subsidiaries on account that they have not been audited is also a sign of serious leadership gaps. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to supervise management. In proper corporate governance, the Board of Directors should be fired for failing to ensure that BOPEU companies are audited. Martin Gabobake, our 1st Deputy President is the Board Chairperson at Babereki Ka Lerato Funerals. It must be mentioned that not once was Comrade Motsamai a Chairperson of this board. Interestingly, so we hear, Comrade Gabobake was instrumental in the plot to oust Comrade Motsamai. It appears he got so drunk and involved in the firing of Comrade Motsamai that he forgot to do his work as Board Chairperson of our subsidiary but he never, not on any day, forgot to sign for the sitting allowance. The basic reality is that Babereki Ka Lerato is failing, or has failed, because its Board, chaired by Comrade Martin Gabobake, has failed in its duties. I am not saying these things for the first time, some comrades have also aired these issues before, but those members of BOPEU who failed to see the truth, though it was right front of their eyes, opted to litter our names with trash of all kinds. It is sad that we have to now remind them that; we told you so, we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
Future Sustain International, although under liquidation, had a separate Board of Directors with Odirile Itumeleng and Pambana Masame as Directors from inception up to liquidation. Even though liquidated, Babereki Investment continues to deduct from us as members of BOPEU, dues arising from stocks sold by the company to members while the company was viable. In addition, we are expected to say it is all right. NO! It is not all right! The Board of Directors ought to have provided the auditors with records of what has been collected from members so far. Further, the remaining Board of Directors ought to have made an effort to place before the Auditors a credible report, if it exists, on the liquidation of FSI. This will be to assist in determining the true loss after reconciling what has been collected so far. This has not been done yet it has been over a financial year since Comrade Motsamai has not been at BOPEU. We told you so, we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
In the interest of time and space, allow me to cross over to a yet one of our companies / associate; Africa Wild. Let me remind the reader and members of BOPEU that Comrade Masego Mogwera assumed the chairing of Africa Wild Board of Directors since 2007. The only true Batswana owned tourism outfit in the country which; CEDA, Babereki and the Allister Family owns about 94% with the remaining 6 % owned by a foreign investor. When we were last briefed about this company, early February 2017, the audit was reported as ongoing, a BOPEU accountant had been seconded to speed up the accounting processes. As the Board Chairperson of Africa Wild, Comrade Masego Mogwera ought to take keen interest in driving the company to greater heights. Amongst key responsibilities being to supervise and assist management to audit the company accounts. This has not been done, not even once since she chaired that Board in 2017. A full financial year has lapsed. We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
Let also remind the reader that the question of audits was at the centre of what polarised BOFEPUSU at the time when Comrade Masego Mogwera was at helm as president and hence responsible for supervising the then management of BOFEPUSU. The chickens have now come home to hatch. It is not surprising that the management accounts of BOPEU have now become a focal point of the discourse hardly 2 months before the elective congress. It is not surprising that majority of NEC members who have enjoyed the support of their regions and that of the leadership are all suspended with more suspensions on the horizon 6 weeks before the elective congress.
For her years as president of BOFEPUSU, Comrade Mogwera led with the same style and flair. She was excellent at sidelining competitors. It is now happening within our own BOPEU. Comrade Monakwe, Comrade Tlale, Comrade Watota, Comrade Cathage and many others who are legible to challenge her and her cabal for the presidency of BOPEU have been this past week been suspended from BOPEU. This effectively means they cannot contest for BOPEU presidency and this further effectively means she and her cabal goes to the BOPEU elective congress as the only ones legible to contest for the union top posts. Why are we even going there in the first place, for the outcome of the elective congress is already obvious, it has already been determined? We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
The concern amongst us members is that talk is rife that there are already plans to splash P20, 000.00 amongst strategic delegates to ensure that the elections favors the current leadership. We should not allow ourselves to be bought with our own money, our own contributions, and our own investments. We must demand answers and heads should roll. I remind the reader and BOPEU members that the 2016 CEC deferred some motions to the incoming congress. I am disturbed that though my region is advocating for the constitution to be amended to allow the position of the General Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary to be electable, this process is going to be frustrated.
The idea of having the position of Secretary General as fulltime position and not up for elections has proved to have failed our union. With Topias Marenga, we saw a man whose only intent is to protect his job and not the organisation. One wonders how he has survived all these years. He was at one point said to be a Comrade Motsamai ally, he is now said to be a Comrade Mogwera ally. I have no doubt that if Comrade Mogwera was to lose the presidency to any other person, Comrade Marenga will decamp his loyalty. I have warned comrades before about Comrade Marenga, that if it needs him misleading his superiors just so he keeps his job at the detriment of the union, he shall do so. His actions have not negated me. Very little can be said in favour of Comrade Marenga. His past is recent. He is a new entrant who managed to attain a post worth more than 600% of his previous salary yet at same qualifications. We told you so; we told you Comrade Motsamai is not the problem.
Leader Thabo Keaipha
BOPEU Member – Moshupa