The Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) has warned civil servants to stay away from partisan politics.
Patrick Molutsi made the warning on Tuesday when delivering a keynote address at the just ended 10th Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) elective congress at Majestic Hotel in Palapye.
He told unionists that staying away from politics helps to maintain the reputation of the institution. He said the partisan political option has not served the working class very well especially in developing countries.
“The working population (in developing countries) is relatively small in relation to the unemployed and poverty stricken rural populations,” said Molutsi, adding that his advice to unions is for them not to take the political path.
“Many unions have been weakened and destroyed by their hastened move to form or join a political party. In Africa, the experiences of union federations in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa bring this point so clearly at home,” he said.
According to Molutsi, being a member of a political party destroys the integrity of the party and while inside the party, they (the unions) do not always occupy a strategic position to sufficiently influence policy and law in favor of the working class.
Giving examples of the governments of Zambia under the late Fredrick Chiluba, Malawi with the late Chakufa Chihana and in the coalition between Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and ZANU PF, Molutsi said this provide interesting lessons for Botswana.
Speaking at the same event, the assistant Education and Skills Development Minister Keletso Rakhudu urged the BOSETU leadership to work hand in glove with the government in order to improve the conditions of teachers.
“One thing we still to learn about working with some trade unions is that even when you are doing nice things, sweet things, things to develop the profession, we should do it from the conceptual stage,” said the junior minister.
He said the government should not only contact the union when trying to resolve a conflict. The junior minister said it is more important to work together with the unions in coming up with strategic ways to succeed.