Opposition leaders on what they would have done to avert or end the strike
The end of on- going strike seemed so near early this week when it was revealed that the unions had agreed on a three percent salary increase with conditions.
But now it seems to be far from being over as the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the conditions,leading to the indefinite continuation of the strike.
We recently spoke to the three main opposition leaders to find out what they could have done to avert or end the mother of all strikes if they were in power.
Gomolemo Motswaledi, Botswana Movement for Democracy
Our plan, when in Government, would of course be multi-faceted. We will engage workers, and open our doors to them in a genuine, open minded and respectful way. Leaders, including the President will have no room to deny Union leaders, Spiritual leaders, Civil Society leaders or even Opposition leaders a basic meeting to deal with the issues of national concern that circumscribe the strike.
We will review the current year’s security/military capital expenditure which is currently just over P1 billion; engage the security generals with a view to slashing their allocation significantly; do the same for re-current expenditure on the DIS which is still on a recruiting swing; review the remainder of the capital expenditure of about just under P10 billion and exact means of curbing cost overruns.
Whilst some dent has already been visited on our foreign reserves and that in most cases a substantial proportion is commuted, some part of that should be committed to this emergency of investing in our workers who should play a vital role towards the resurgence of our economy. This is among a plethora of things that we can consider and indeed do to resolve this problem.
Dumelang Saleshando, Botswana Congress Party
The unions are made up of mature, understanding people who I believe if Khama as the leader of this country had addressed we would not be in this situation. So the first thing for us would be to face the workers, hear their concerns and find the best way forward if not give them the increment, which we believe is a genuine demand.
One of the most important things that we would do as a government is prioritize issues and projects. Botswana is unnecessarily spending more on military than most countries with big economies yet we are not under threat of any war.
So we would significantly cut the expenditure of defence and DIS and channel the money to better things. In a nutshell money is never enough but if spent properly there would not be any problems.
Duma Boko, Botswana National Front
The first thing would obviously be meeting with the workers face to face instead of using wrong platforms to talk about the strike. We would then make promises and commitments which are time bound so that we can be held accountable if we fail to deliver.
If indeed the government has no money, then why not suspend or shelve permanently some of the programmes that are not worth pursuing.
Why allocate money to the DIS, that is the money that should be put to use in as far as workers are concerned.
So really this government is not serious or honest and one mistake that we would never commit is take the people for granted.