One of the country’s richest trade unions, Botswana Sector for Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), will next month retreat to Palapye to elect a new leadership. This comes after its president. Shadukani Hlabano and his deputy, Tebogo Sebogodi indicated that they will not seek re-election.
According to sources within the union, the presidential race has pitted the former union secretary general Moses Modukanele, Carter Hikwama and lecturer at Tonota College of Education Shylet Tshireletso.
The trio are said to be travelling the length and breadth of the country, seeking votes from different regions. BOSETU, one of the biggest teacher trade unions in the country is said to be divided along north and south regions with the latter rooting for Modukanele who is from the southern part of the country while the northerners are divided between Tshireletso and Hikwama.
“BOSETU is currently in the hands of people from the north and it is high time the status quo is changed and Palapye congress is the place to implement that change,” said one of the delegates.
Modukanele lost to the current BOSETU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, at the Mmadinare congress in 2011 by 177 votes to 77.
After his loss, some members blamed it on his too trusting mentality when he delegated Rari who was his deputy to carry out most of the union activities like visiting the regions. He is currently regarded as the torch bearer for the southerners who feel that he is the right person to take the union forward as he has the necessary experience as he used to be in the executive.
Modukanele faces an uphill battle of convincing other members that he can lead the organisation after they rejected him in Mmadinare in 2011.
“The problem with comrade Modukanele is that he is too soft and lacks stamina to take on government on issues affecting teachers,” said one member who is against his candidature. In the other camp the northerners are said to be divided between Tshireletso and Hikwama as most of them feel that they are going to have split votes. Some want Hikwama to drop and give Tshireletso a chance to take on Modukanele as he is militant and a strict disciplinarian.
In 2011, Hikwama lost to Sebogodi for the position of vice president, garnering 68 against the latter’s 98. “We want him to drop and at least contest the position he contested previously because we cannot contest these elections as a divided house,” said the source.
Tshireletso, a self-made leader, was one of the instrumental leaders during the infamous 2011 industrial action in Francistown. Hikwama is said to be reluctant to pave way for Tshireletso and has assembled a strong team to campaign for him.
In the vice presidential race, former BOSETU publicity secretary, Ketlhalefilwe Motshegwa wants to make a comeback and will have to fight it out with stiff challenge from Tlotlo Dibeela and Tony Kenosi.
Both Dibeela and Kenosi are said to be commanding large support bases in the southern part, but will face Motshegwa who will be having a united front from the north. Dibeela is currently the Vice President of Botswana Basketball Association.
In 2011 Motshegwa who is regarded as a good orator, lost to the outgoing Vice President, Sebogodi by a margin of four votes. Together with Modukanele they were elected as overseers of the union’s assets, making them visible in all of the union activities.
BOSETU which has over 11 0000 members will have 230 delegates at their 2014 Triennial Elective Delegate Congress in Palapye at Majestic Five hotel under the theme "Decent Work for Teachers through Meaningful Social Dialogue.” The elective congress will be held on the 25-26 of August 2014 and officially opened by the Minister of Education and Skills Development.
Efforts to get comment from the Secretary General, Rari were futile as his phone was off by press time.