The Gaborone University College of Law and Professional Studies (which abbreviates its name as “GUC”) has apologized to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane for using his picture on the cover page of its 2021 diary in a way that may portray him “in bad light by some quarters of the public.”
The picture was taken in 2018 when Tsogwane officiated at the official opening of the university’s Mmopane Vocational Education Campus. Diaries are a marketing tool and when GUC put together its 2021 diary, someone thought it would be a good idea to attach the prestige of the presidency to what is essentially a marketing campaign. Contacting the Office of the President would have been a good idea but that was not done. The result was that the Vice President guest-stars in an advertisment for a private sector company.
Tsogwane’s portrait is part of a montage that also features a GUC executive and a background of multi-storied buildings. The picture itself doesn’t show Tsogwane at his most presidential in terms of appearance: he is wearing shades, a fashion item that has not been known to be a standard feature of official presidential portraiture. In short, he looks more like a tenderpreneur than a vice president.
All indications are that the Office of the President complained bitterly about Tsogwane’s picture being used in such manner. However, the complaint came too late because copies of the diary had already been distributed. A public apology appeared to be the least GUC could do by way of atonement and one is appearing in the print media.
“GUC wish (sic) to make it clear that the use of the picture on the diary was carried out innocently with no ill intent whatsoever and in utmost good faith. It has however been brought to our attention that the picture may portray His Honour the Vice President in bad light by some quarters of the public. To the extent that the picture may be so interpreted, the institution hereby tenders an unreserved apology to His Honour the Vice President, Mr. Slumber Tsogwane, his Office and the nation at large,” the apology reads.
Some quarters of the public are gravely concerned about the chumminess between private universities – which a former University of Botswana Vice Chancellor says should not be allowed to even call themselves “universities” – and elected public officials. In such quarters, tongues would already be wagging about how Tsogwane came to be on the cover of the 2021 diary.