The ‘souring’ relationship between one-time bosom buddies, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his party Secretary General (SG), Mpho Balopi, has been fingered as one of the reasons ‘vital issues’ were left out of HE’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Addressing members of the media this week, Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) SG, Thusang Butale, listed several topics he considered ‘critical’ but that were not covered in Monday’s SONA.
A Decent Wage policy, National Employment policy and Labour issues were three of the areas Butale feels should have been discussed but were strangely omitted.
When asked if the President was failing to communicate with them as a body for workers, Butale insisted the fault did not lie with Masisi.
“We engage with the President and Office of the President. Masisi officially opened our congress two weeks back. We have a good relationship with him and I think the problem is with the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development [Balopi].”
Butale added he suspects there may be some truth to the rumours of a fallout between the powerful pair, which would explain the apparent breakdown in communication.
“I doubt the report we gave the Minister could have reached the President’s office looking at what has been going on around the two. Maybe we have to engage Balopi again and ask what happened to all the things we put forward. A Decent wage Committee, which will drive decent wages, was launched two weeks ago but it didn’t get to SONA. Now we ask ourselves if we do get captured during our engagements,” pondered Butale.
The once strong bond between the political leaders is said to be weaker than ever, to the point that Masisi reportedly even asked Balopi to step down as SG.