Monday, January 18, 2021

UB ‘back to normal’

During the recent demonstrations by some of the University of Botswana students, the security office windows, among other structures, were smashed.

Also vandalised were the University bus that transports students between campuses, library windows and a number of notice boards.

“We did not hold the demonstrations because of the closure of 411. Management had already made it clear that they were not going to do so,” were the words of suspended President of the University of Botswana Student Representative council (SRC), Khumoekae Richard.

Supplementary Examinations, the School of Medicine, Intervarsity Games and the Student bar have however been cited in a communiqu├® from the Department of Public Affairs as the reasons that led to students at the University of Botswana rioting. The resultant damaged school property ultimately led to the temporary closure of the institution. The statement further indicates that the decisions taken to address the petition from the student body were taken during Senate meetings while the University was closed.

The SRC President further informed The Telegraph that initially a total of seven members (the whole council) had been suspended.

However, two of those suspensions had since been revoked.

“Currently, Khumoekae Richard (President), Tumo Seleke (Vice President), Kgotso Kennekae (Secretary General), Tshepiso Bodilenyane and Kago Mokotedi (Minister of Justice) are still on suspension,” said Richard.

He further said that he and Mokotedi had been detained at the central Police station overnight for allegedly inciting the student community and damaging of property during the demonstrations.

The number one reason for the demonstrations cited by the students, according to Richard, is the introduction of supplementary examinations. The resolution from the Senate is that, “it is necessary to engage in an inclusive consultative process and consider recommendations from all Faculties and Departments/Units that provide administrative support to the academic enterprise before pronouncing on supplementary examinations. The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, will set up a Committee to facilitate consultations on this issue.”

The Senate also resolved that, “The Faculty of Health Sciences will consult with the School of Medicine to determine and expedite issues that can be addressed within the School and the Faculty. The Faculty will make recommendations to the Senate regarding how all other issues could be addressed by the University.”

Richard indicated that the School of Medicine had lost its credibility and is continuing to lose staff after they experienced “pay cuts.”

Regarding the intervarsity games between the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, it was explained that Lesotho and Swaziland are the ones who have indicated that they will no longer be taking part in these activities and that UB was still “engaged in efforts to look for
alternative institutions to partner with in this regard.”

The student bar, however, is still operating despite reports that some students had raised complaints about noise level, and senate resolved that, “Decisions about the bar will be taken after the process of consultation is concluded.”

The University has since re-opened and it has been reported that things are back to normal.

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