Wednesday, July 6, 2022

UB SRC threatens to strike in solidarity with Limkokwing students

In a rare show of solidarity, leaders of Student Representative Councils of various tertiary institutions in Gaborone converged at the offices of the University of Botswana (UB) SRC on Thursday to lend their support to their colleagues who have been suspended from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

Last week Friday, Limkokwing slapped some students, mostly SRC members, with suspensions after they were accused of “blocking the entrances to the campus, causing disharmony, forcing the halting of lectures and normal business or operations of the university, verbally and or physically abusing other students and intimidating university staff”.

The suspensions were effective from 5th April and will run for three weeks while management carries out further investigations and prepares to hold disciplinary hearings for the students who are accused of instigating, leading and engaging in what the management termed as “an illegal class boycott or strike”.

The UB SRC hosted a press conference that was addressed by student leaders from Botho College, University of Botswana, Tlokweng College of Education, MANCOSA, GIPS, Limkokwing and Boitekanelo College. Also present to pledge their support was Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Vice Chairperson Moemedi Dennis Baikalafi.

In his address, Baikalafi said the BNYC National Chairman, Metlha Mokwena, has promised that he will, on his return from an official trip outside the country, arrange for a meeting between the Education minister, Limkokwing management and the suspended students to find a solution to the current impasse. He also said his organization will assist in securing legal assistance for the suspended students should the need arise.

For his part, a combative UB SRC President, Kago Mokotedi, described the situation at Limkokwing as “total madness”. He said his committee decided to lend support to the suspended Limkokwing students because they relate well to their circumstances.

Mokotedi has said that they relate to their problems and fully support the ideals they have been suspended for. He called for the immediate reinstatement of the suspended students and described Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as the most incompetent and complacent minister to have ever led the education ministry.

He also accused President Ian Khama for remaining indifferent to the current crisis at Limkokwing.

Mokotedi said suspending students would not resolve the problems besieging Limkokwing and threatened to lobby other institutions to stage class boycotts should Limkokwing refuse to reinstate the students. Mokotedi has promised to put his law degree studies on the line in solidarity with the suspended students and urged the nation not to take the matter lightly as it is bound to spread like wild fire.

MANCOSA SRC President Thebe Thambezulu also promised to forgo his studies and fight for Limkokwing students. He said the Limkokwing strike and suspensions offered them a rare opportunity to come together as tertiary institutions.

Justice Seipheto of GIPS called on leaders and school management to heed calls by students for the reinstatement of the suspended students.

Bojalwa Mmapadi, who is the SRC President at Boitekanelo College, said he has only been in office for three days and was still familiarizing himself with the issue but called for unity amongst the students.

Mojiiwa Moesi from Tlokweng College of Education implored the students to unite and never be afraid of anyone. He said Limkokwing management was displaying signs of arrogance and intolerance. Botho College SRC President Kenneth Nelson said he has expelled his committee members because they refused to take part in the solidarity move and urged his fellow student leaders to stay united in their “liberation struggle”. He said he was worried that SRC members are always suspended when there is an impasse between them and the management of their institutions.

Another meeting, dubbed ‘Mass of Masses’ is scheduled to take place at the UB Student Centre on Tuesday evening.


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