The Vice Chancellor of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Professor Hilary Inyang has resigned his plum post citing external interference.
This comes a week after the University’s Council chairman Serwalo Tunmelo was ousted from his position. Botswana Guardian last week revealed details of full-scale divisions within the BIUST council characterised by mudslinging. Inyang, who last December was honoured with the Nigerian National-Merit Award (NNMA) by President Goodluck Jonathan, poured out his heart in a tell-all resignation letter complete with attached backing documents addressed to the Minister of Education and Skills Development Mokgweetsi Masisi.
“After much thinking about the external circumstances surrounding BIUST, I have decided to resign from my position as the Vice Chancellor and Distinguished Professor of BIUST,” Inyang wrote in his resignation letter to Masisi. The minister last week removed Tumelo from his position as BIUST council chairman and in his place appointed Boyce Sebetela as acting chairman. The Vice Chancellor’s resignation is effective April 7, 2015. “Per my contract, this will allow six months for my help to the ministry in an interim period during which my successor can be recruited,” reads part of the letter seen by this publication.
Inyang is however amenable to an earlier departure, as early as end of December this year. That is providing mutually acceptable terms are worked out on severance pay, benefits including gratuity, and terminal sabbatical or regular leave. This publication understands that Inyang’s resignation will open floodgates as other foreign staff members working at the institution are expected to resign en masse. According to the Vice Chancellor, recent circumstances concerning the security of foreign staff at BIUST has been the major factor for his decision to leave, further revealing that besides his core work of late he has been spending half of his time responding to rumour-driven allegations as evident in his point-by-point response contained in his letter to the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime dated August 8, 2014.
Inyang let the cat out of the bag when he stated that some colleagues would be joining him in resigning, but would leave Palapye without abandoning BIUST because the mission of African intellectual revolution is one to which they are extremely committed. In his letter the Vice Chancellor outlined some notable achievements over the past 15 months, which according to him include: institutional morale, prestige and attraction have increased with a commensurate rise in global ranking by more than 600 places since August 2013. Inyang has described the ousted council chairman, Tumelo as an able, sincere and honest man.
Masisi confirmed to the Botswana Guardian that Inyang has tendered in his resignation letter but it has conditions. “I have not responded to it,” he said. He could not be pressed further on the issue saying he was in a meeting on Wednesday. Inyang suggested in his letter that if the foundation they have laid is not degraded by private interests and other maladies, including externally derived interferences and internal staff disciplinary breakdown, BIUST will serve in concert with other Botswana institutions and the private sector, as the engine of Botswana’s socio-economic development. “I look forward to your response to my proposal and completion of my severance transactions,” reads the letter.
Inyang has designated attorney Moses Kadye as his attorney for execution of “my exit terms and those of the five at-risk BIUST employees.” Prof Inyang has colourful curriculum vitae as he has led and performed research expeditions to Jiangsu Province of China on mining subsidence and erosion; Siberia (Russia) on oil spills; Niger Delta on oil spills; Alaska on Permafrost degradation due to global climate change; and Minas Gerais region of Brazil on fugitive dust emission studies. According to sources he is sought after in countries like China and Russia and his resignation will leave a big gap in the internationalisation of BIUST. “The project is likely to collapse,” said a source.