Thursday, February 9, 2023

‘Suspended’ Fako still calling the shots at UB

Contrary to what some sections of the media and grapevine believe to be the case, Vice Chancellor Professor Thabo Fako is still very much in charge of the University of Botswana.

The confusion about Fako’s current status at UB emanates from an emergency UB Council meeting that was held on December 16 at which the chairperson, Parks Tafa, conveyed a message from the Minister of Tertiary Education Research, Science and Technology, Dr. Alfred Madigele. The message was simply that the Council should suspend Fako. That almost happened but the Deputy Chairperson, Mpho Mothibatsela is said to have resisted such instruction, saying that it was improper for the minister to instruct the Council to suspend Fako when the Council itself had not discussed the issue. The discussion that followed failed to produce consensus and it was resolved that the issue should be referred back to the minister. On such basis, when the meeting broke up that day, Fako (who is himself a Council member) had not been suspended. That is why when the varsity re-opened after the Christmas holidays, he was still in post. Madigele is said to be very keen on seeing the back of Fako and another emergency meeting is expected to happen quite soon. One other important part of the message that Tafa delivered to the Council was that the minister wants a forensic audit to be immediately carried out following Fako’s suspension. This is standard procedure that is done on the reasoning that a party might interfere with the audit if s/he is still in office when an audit of this sort is carried out. For now, such audit will be put on hold until such time that Fako is suspended. If Madigele’s instruction was a misstep in any way, it may have inadvertently served to fortify Fako’s position. if he is indeed suspended later on, he can claim that the decision to suspend him was motivated by malice from the get-go because due process was willfully circumvented. It it happens, Fako’s suspension will necessitate the appointment of a caretaker Vice Chancellor and the name of his predecessor, Professsor Bojosi Othogile, has been mentioned.


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