Saturday, May 8, 2021

BCP parliamentary candidate in fake PhD scandal

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) parliamentary candidate for Nata/Gweta constituency in last year’s general elections Ditiro Majadibodu has for a very long time misled led the nation into believing that he has a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) qualification in International Community Health. Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that Majadibodu has a Masters Degree in the discipline and not a Doctorate as he purports. In the run up to the general elections in October last year, the government-owned Daily News newspaper published academic qualifications of parliamentary candidates and Majadibodu was presented as having “PhD in International Community Health from University of Oslo, Norway”.

His supporters also took to social media and presented him as a PhD holder. In all BCP events that he attends, he is introduced as “Dr Majadibodu”. Almost all local media houses have addressed him as ‘Dr Majadibodu’ in their news articles. The widely circulated Daily News has run several news articles where they addressed him as ‘Dr Majadibodu’. Majadibodu is standing for BCP’s Information and Publicity Secretary post in the party’s upcoming congress and his supporters are using his PhD credentials to sell his candidature. One BCP member who is in Majadibodu’s camp campaigned for him on Facebook on June 26 and stated that “Dr Ditiro Majadibodu did Degree in Strategic Communication at University of Oslo in Norway, a former teacher and motivational speaker. Addressing the media is something he do almost everyday”.

Sunday Standard investigations have also revealed that Majadibodu does not hold a Degree qualification in Strategic Communication but rather, did it an elective course which formed part of his Masters degree in International Community Health.

Sunday Standard contacted Majadibodu and asked him to confirm if the qualifications he gave to the Daily News were correct and he replied in the affirmative. After talking to him on the phone on Thursday where he confirmed to be “Dr Majadibodu”, we sent him a text message that read, “the Daily News has published that you have a PhD in International Community Health from University of Oslo. Can you confirm this qualification to be true and should we publish the qualification as such in our story?” Clearly unaware we were investigating his academic credentials and not writing about his political aspirations, Majadibodu responded thus; “Yes Sir, use the information you got from the Daily News”. Sunday Standard contacted the University of Oslo in Norway and they confirmed that Majadibodu attained a Master of Philosophy in International Community Health in 2008. The university does not offer the course at PhD level.

In an email response, the University’s Higher Executive Officer in the Department of Academic Administration Alan Louis Belardinelli wrote, “Our records show that we have had one student with the surname Majadibodu and the first name Ditiro. I can, however, tell you that the individual in my student record database earned a Master of Philosophy in International Community Health from the UiO Faculty of Medicine. The qualification was recorded in our database on 20.10.2008. I cannot see that anyone by that surname has earned any other credentials at UiO”. This information was also corroborated by Terese Eriksen who is the Program coordinator of Master in International Community Health studies at University of Oslo.

She wrote in her email response to our enquires, “As the coordinator of the Master program in International Community Health, I can confirm that Ditiro Majadibodu has completed his master degree in International Community Health at University of Oslo in 2008. This course included an elective course named Strategic Communication in Community Health.” Sunday Standard tried to ask Majadibodu more questions on Friday but he would not respond, probably because now the questions were focused on his academic credentials and not his political credentials. Ever since the Sunday Standard exposed Botswana Innovation Hub Director Geoffrey Seleka’s questionable academic credentials three weeks ago, the newspaper continues to receive more leads on professionals who have padded their curriculum vitae.

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