Botswana Land boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) held a successful Triennial Congress in Francistown, Adansonia Hotel from the 1st to the 3rd of December 2022, under the theme: ‘’50 Years of Militancy and Radicalism for Workers Welfare. ‘’

In his keynote address, Dr Patrick Molotsi emphasized that BLLAHWU advocating for the betterment of the lives of Batswana in general as they are part of very community that is subjected to poverty and unemployment amongst other social ills. He further added that regardless of how much the workers conditions can be improved, they cannot be expected to be silent whereas their family members are impoverished and unemployed.  Molotsi also acknowledged that empowering workers should go hand in hand with empowering the entire community.

In his Presidential address, BLLAHWU President Thatayaone Kesebonye attributed government’s failure to improve the working conditions of workers to escalating corruption in Botswana. He said as the working class they are concerned because in the past Botswana was praised for being the least corrupt country in Africa, but a recent international transparency report revealed that Botswana has gone down on the list, adding that it shows that corruption has grown tremendously.

Kesebonye affirmed that trade unions in Botswana including BLLAHWU should never be confined to speaking about bread-and-butter issues only.  He indicated that unions are now talking about issues of the economy of the country, social issues as well as political issues amongst others. He added that there is a mismatch between the economy and the livelihood and standard of living of the people of the Botswana adding that Botswana is in the top three countries in the world, with the highest income inequalities.

“If the economy booms let it be evident even in the lives of the workers and Batswana in general. Otherwise it shows that there is a problem of redistribution of wealth. We will talk about issues of poverty, issues of unemployment. Let things be done in a manner that will ensure that Batswana have better lives than before. We need to get to a point were wealth will be equitably distributed amongst and across all sectors the society. But as it stands, the rich get richer and the workers and the poor get poorer, “he added.

About the PEMANDU report, Kesebonye noted that in the SADC region, the lowest paid employees are found in Botswana. He further acknowledged that though recommendations by the same report were made to ensure that workers conditions are improved to date no action has been taken to implement the recommendations.

“Since 2019 we have seen zero implementation of what was recommended in the PEMANDU report. What does that say? We still see no improvement in conditions of services in Botswana yet government spent millions to commission the Pemandu report. Why is government reluctant to implement the recommendations?” he asked.

In an interview with BLLAHWU Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa explained that despite social media propaganda insinuating that attendees of the congress were confined to the venue, in management of organizations there is always a need to ensure the security of delegates.

“It was based on advice from the police. They explained that they have shortage of manpower hence we resorted to engaging a private Security Company to ensure that our delegates and members are safe so that they are not subjected to theft and any form of intrusion from outside,” he said.

He further revealed that an award ceremony to honor members and structures that have done an incredible job in terms of mobilizing and organizing was slated for Friday evening. Amongst the categories that were to be awarded he mentioned branch of the year award, region of the year award, best secretary award.

The Triennial Congress elected a new Central Executive Committee led by Thatayaone Kesebonye (President), Kakulu Manyalela  (1st Vice President), Boemo Bato (2nd Vice President), Motshidisi Mafoko (Deputy Secretary General), Katlego Magogodi (Treasurer General), Tidimalo Baakile (Secretary for Arts, Sports & Culture).