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Justice Moroka blasts Unions

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Trade unions should not only be seen as “mere peddlers of the democratic rhetoric” but become custodians of democratic principles, Francistown High Court Judge Lot Moroka has advised.

Officially opening the ongoing Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) congress in Palapye on Monday, Justice Moroka told unionists that trade unions should instead be seen as champions of the democratic process.

“It is my deep rooted belief that trade unions can achieve the foregoing by ensuring that they run their affairs in a democratic manner. Too often organisations find themselves at war as a result of a tyranny perpetuated by the minority or vice versa,” he said.

According to Justice Moroka, for trade unions to help build an inclusive nation, they should themselves run an inclusive organisation which protects the rights of the minority as jealously as they protect those of the majority.

“This therefore is a challenge to you to endeavour to run a clean house. Democracy is in itself not only an expensive undertaking but a culture that needs to be cultivated and strongly inculcated amongst the masses,” explained Moroka.

He said there is an overarching need for trade unions to be united in their quest to achieve amongst others economic prosperity and parity for the working class. For his part, former Secretary General of COSATU, Zwenlinzima Vavi advised BOPEU to ensure that there is no gap between union members and union leaders.

“They must be organically linked, so that no one, no counter force, is able to exploit the gaps that have opened up, and divert us from our historic mission. We have to be models of accountable democracy,” explained Vavi.

He said as the former COSATU leader he has learned that many union leaders are not merely supporting pro-capitalist policies, but are themselves in business, using workers’ money which is invested in trusts and funds, to enrich themselves, even becoming involved in companies in which unions members are in dispute with the employers.

“COSATU, once a bastion of integrity and democracy, regarded by large sections of the public for its high moral and political authority has degenerated, and has been captured and manipulated by anti-working class forces,” he said.

BOPEU is holding elections today in which Andrew Motsamai is defending his position as President against his first Deputy Sikalame Seitiso.

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Maun woman tells of how she ‘lost’ her camp business

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Eunice Hadour is living in distress after she and her husband were conned of their tented camp business in Maun.

The two claim to have lost the four-hectare plot situated on an island in NG12 to a South African Afrikaner businessman who pretended to be buying a 60 percent stake in the company. Hadour is an indigenous Motswana from Shakawe while her husband is a naturalised Motswana who is originally British.

Hadour said that the man had approached her and her husband and expressed interest in buying a stake in the company. “The agreement was that we would give him a 60 percent stake,” she said. She said after the agreement, the man told them that he had an offshore account and to access the funds to pay them their stake, he had to have the share certificate so that the funds could be released.

The man has apparently changed all documentation. Asked how he got his hands on the title deed, Hadour explained that there was one occasion when they wanted to travel to Palapye to change the title deed status and he had volunteered to drop it off on their behalf.

“He smooth talked us and said it would be an unnecessary expense for us to travel just to take a document.” Hadour said that they noticed that something was amiss when the man’s father-in-law told some of their customers that they would soon be taking over the camp. Realising what had happened, the couple lodged a case against the man. Hadour noted that in court the man used fraudulent statements and witnesses as well as financial transactions. The case was heard at the Lobatse High Court over the years.

Hadour said that in the initial stages the incident had put such a strain on her that she had to be hospitalised as she was pregnant at the time. “I was admitted to a South African hospital for almost two months and my baby had developed a heart condition. Meanwhile, back home, these people had taken over the camp,” she said with a quivering voice. Hadour said that the most painful part was that she had not even received a single Thebe from this. She said they suspected corruption as no one took them seriously. “There are some people we heard they had bought off with cheap cars and tuckshops.”

After a court case that started four years ago, and knocking from door to door asking for help in their case, they are now on the verge of losing hope. She said that the man implicated in the matter has threatened to sue them should they mention his name in the media. “We recently received a letter from his lawyer stipulating that legal action would be taken against us if we mentioned his name,” she said. Hadour said their standard of living had detoriorated as they had no source of income and were now struggling to make ends meet. “We both studied tourism and that is all we know. This man seems to have closed doors for us because people want nothing to do with us.

They are all friends and the way I see it, they have spoken about us and are in this together – no one even listens to us,” she said. She added that they would have to settle for anything, even maid jobs to make ends meet because the situation has become bleak, their last money having been milked by legal and medical fees. She said they were also forced to move their children from private schools to government schools because of their changed economic status.

Hadour said the man often boasted that they had heard that some Batswana sold their land in exchange for bags of maize meal and clothes. “They said they told their friends in South Africa that there is land galore in Botswana especially in the North. Some of them trick locals. They can buy a plot for a mere P5000. Some of them claim to be leasing and ask the locals to sign documents while others forge their signatures. They don’t explain anything to them or intentionally trick them.”

Hadour cautioned Batswana to be cautious on issues of land and businessmen who claimed to want to buy their businesses, property and land. “There are crooks out there. I never imagined that something like this could happen to me.” She told The Midweek Sun that she had been to the Ministry of Tourism and even DCEC to try and seek help with no success. “We once even met Minister Tshekedi Khama who seemed sympathetic but advised us to wait for the court process to take its course. We now want to go back to him and see if there is nothing we can do to help us,” she said.

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Murdered boyfriend was a ‘prisoner in his own prison house’-friend

Yvonne Mooka

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Social media went into frenzy this week when news broke out that a woman from Serowe, Kefilwe Annastacia Motladiile, aged between 23 and 29, had stabbed her boyfriend, Moses Setabi to death last Sunday.

Reacting to the incident, some women opined that it is a result of the abuse that women are suffering at the hands of men while their male counterparts countered that Motladiile could have been an abusive and controlling girlfriend.

“She acted like someone who had had enough of being mistreated. Or she wanted to defend herself that day,” said one. A friend of Motlaadile told The Midweek Sun that Motladiile and her boyfriend, Moses Setabi used to fight over his baby-mama. She said that even though the deceased was in love with Motladiile, he had a habit of flirting with the mother of his child, something that always hurt Motladiile. “He loved Motladiile but was secretly entertaining his ex-girlfriend,” she said.

Setabi’s colleagues describe him as humble, neat and warm. One of his co-Prison officers said Motladiile never wanted him to go out without her. “He was in prison in his own prison house,” he said, adding however that the couple wore a united and happy face when seen together.

According to a psychologist student at University of Botswana Doreen Tsimako, the Serowe murder is an indication that women can no longer take the abuse from men. She said women have been enduring painful acts of abuse at the hands of men including sexual abuse, emotional abuse and being killed. “No one is willing to protect them and they have been harbouring anger and pain far too long. They are fighting back,” she said. She stated that women are most deadly when abused.

“A woman can keep quiet about inner pain for a long time. When she finally decides to leave, she leaves. And when she forgives, she forgives. But now, the ongoing ‘passion killings’ are making them go into an aggressive self-defence mode,” she said. She however said this should speak to policy makers to prioritise what needs to be done to prevent crimes of passion.
Alleged murderer in police custody

Serowe Police are holding Motladiile in custody in connection with the stabbing of her boyfriend. She is suspected to have caused the death of her boyfriend by stabbing him with a knife. Serowe Police Station Commander Superintendent Molefhe Molefhe told The Midweek Sun that the incident was reported to them on Sunday between 6pm and 7pm.
He confirmed that Setabi, who hails from the North East of Botswana, was a prison officer at Serowe Prisons and resided in the Prison’s quarters. He is between the ages of 31 and 35. The woman is from Rakgomo ward in Serowe.

“They were staying together at Prison’s quarters and they had a misunderstanding that Sunday evening. Their neighbor informed us of the incident upon seeing the man running from the house bleeding and screaming.

He was holding his stomach,” said Superintendent. Molefhe, adding that Setabi was certified dead upon arrival at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital. Motladiile is said to have run away after stabbing her boyfriend, but was arrested that same night. She is expected to appear at Serowe Magistrate Court today (Wednesday). Molefhe advised couples to seek third party intervention when having challenges in their relationships.

“Relationships are full of ups and downs, but when the pressure is unbearable, talk to your friends, social workers, parents or pastors instead of keeping pain and anger inside,” he said.

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