Education International
Education International

Bostwana: unfair dismissal of trade union leader is reversed

published 8 November 2006 updated 8 November 2006

The president of the Botswana Teachers’ Union has been reinstated in his teaching post, after EI and BTU members protested his unfair dismissal.

Japhta Radibe, who serves not only as President of EI's affiliate in Botswana but also of the Southern Africa Teachers’ Organisation, was officially informed on 24 October that he was being “retired” from the teaching service, effective immediately. Radibe is only 45 years of age.

EI and SATO immediately protested to the Botswana authorities that this was a clear case of victimization for union activities. EI Regional Coordinator Richard Etonu visited Botswana to assure the BTU of EI's support. Hundreds of BTU members took the streets to protest the unfair dismissal of their trade union leader, and the story received intense coverage in the Botswana press. “Mr. Radibe seems to be going through turmoil because of his unwavering advocacy on social issues and teachers’ welfare. This leads us to believe that his dismissal is a deliberate act to destabilize the activities of the BTU and therefore is not only a violation of Mr Radibe’s freedom of expression, but also is a violation of freedom of association,” said EI’s protest letter.

On 7 November, EI learned that Radibe has been reinstated in his classroom at the Sedibeka Community Junior Secondary School. EI and member organisations extend their congratulations and support to the reinstated union leader, and to the members of the BTU.