In a strongly worded letter, the Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) have cautioned President Mokgwetsi Masisi against extending the state of Public Emergency (SOPE)
The labour unions have argued that President has no justification to continue with the state of emergency.
The letter reads in part “Your government through Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Presidential Covid 19 Task Team has advised the nation to learn to leave this pandemic as they do their day to day social and economic chores. This advice was based on the fact that it will take some time before this corona pandemic is put under control through vaccines. If we are to go by this advice, then there is a need for your government to open up the economy of the country by doing away with any intentions or plans to impose another state of emergency.”
The union further tells Masisi that the two-state of emergencies have brought nothing but misery and have adversely affected both the social and economic activities of the nation, leading to loss of jobs because employers are not making any headways in as far profits are concerned.
“This loss of jobs will have long-term effects on the lives of Batswana. With soaring unemployed Batswana social and economic stability and observance of rule of law may not be guaranteed. Workplace related illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and mental health challenges are on the increase as a result of weak or no psycho-social therapy support offered to either infected or affected individuals alike.”
BOFEPUSU has further warned the president of sky-rocketing white-collar and systematic corruption most linked to government tenders.
“BOFEPUSU and BFTU can only support the extension of the state of emergency if there is a detailed report of what was the intention of the state of emergency and what has been achieved through it so far. The focus now should be on the procurement of vaccines and an expedited rollout programme, and this clearly doesn’t need the aid of a State of emergency. The leadership is using a state of emergency as room for looting, unaccountability, violation of human rights, and that is bad for the Country. The state of emergency is now a tool for personal interests and self-aggrandizement.”
The current state of emergency is expected to come to an end on March 31st.