Monday, December 11, 2023

Former UB boss renewed contract of ‘deadwood’ academic

Even after he exited the vice chancerllorship of the University of Botswana, Professor Thabo Fako, continues to make news.

Sunday Standard has just learnt that in the month that the UB Council was considering a recommendation from the Minister of Tertiary Education and Research to suspend him, Fako was unfazed by it all. So unfazed, we learn, that in December he renewed a contract of an expatriate lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities whom some of his colleagues describe as a “deadwood.” This lecturer’s contract was supposed to have ended last year but he wished to stay on. Both his department and the Faculty’s Appointments, Promotions and Reviews Committee above it recommended non-renewal of the contract. However, it is the Vice Chancellor who has the final say.

When the issue was kicked upstairs, Fako happened to be away and acting in his stead was Professor Martin Mokgwathi, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. Mokgwathi upheld the Faculty’s recommendation and it looked like the deadwood would finally be leaving UB at the end of 2016. Back in the office, Fako essentially withdrew the authority he had delegated to Mokgwathi when he reversed his decision and extended the contract of the lecturer in question. The result is that the lecturer is still at UB.

Sunday Standard has been made aware of numerous other instances when Fako disregarded recommendations of various FAPRCs with regard to the contracts of some non-citizen lecturers. Through the exercise of his power and authority, Fako has renewed the contracts of non-performing non-citizens while rejecting recommendations to appoint citizens. One of those in the latter category was a highly competent Motswana PhD with experience on the bench of the High Court.

Following a tumultuous tenure, Fako resigned his position last month but from what we learn, is still a UB employee.


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