A former Deputy Vice Chancellor at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), who left unceremoniously, has responded angrily to allegations by her employer that she left because she was not able to keep up with the heavy demands of setting up an institution the size of BIUST.
Dr Julia Saurazas has countered BIUST allegations by saying she left because her former boss, Vice Chancellor Professor Kweku Bentil, was not able to make any decisions in a timely manner.
“Of course, BIUST was embarrassed by my early departure and had to give reasons that would make BIUST look good and me look bad,” said Dr Saurazas, former Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration.)
BIUST Director of Communications, Shakie Kebaswele, had said in an earlier interview that Dr Saurazas had left because she could not keep up with the momentum.
“Finance and Administration can be a challenging job as it requires an all rounder. The task gets even heavier when there are tight deadlines to be met as is in our case,” Kebaswele had said at the time when answering questions on why a university senior executive could leave her job barely six months into it.
“That statement is false…..There were no issues with my performance. Any slowness was due to executive member (s) (i.e. the Vice Chancellor) not being able to make any decisions in a timely manner,” said Dr. Saurazas.
She described as “lame,” BIUST’s attempts to explain her early departure from what is by all accounts a plum job.
Her angry response may serve to confirm allegations passed by members of staff who had said Dr Julia Saurazas had left because she had serious differences over policy with Professor Bentil, who some have cast as inflexible.
In defending Professor Bentil, Kebaswele had praised the Vice Chancellor as a flexible man who was doing everything to help and push his team under what are trying and very complex working environments.
“The fact of the matter is that he has certain expectations on us that make up his executive team. He has emphasized that we are pioneers and in that respect we have to set high standards for ourselves because those who will come after us will use our standards as a platform on which to do a lot of things for the university. If you have never been involved in setting up an institution the situation can often be a serious challenge,” Kebaswele said of Bentil.