Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) staff this Tuesday petitioned the Minister of Agriculture, Patrick Ralotsia over the repeated reinstatement of the current Acting Vice Chancellor who they say lacks leadership acumen.
During the General Staff Meeting held on the 6th July 2016, BCA/BUAN staff resolved to petition the Minister of Agriculture over the prevailing state of affairs at BUAN –the repeated reinstatements of the current Acting Vice Chancellor (VC) of BUAN, Dr Mataba Tapela.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Boipelo Khumomatlhare confirmed to this publication yesterday that he received the petition which has since been passed to the Minister himself. The petition, which was submitted by a delegation of three-Dr Nelson Tselaesele, Dr Mogadime Rammolai and Dibeela, requires the minister’s response within 14 days. “I cannot answer on his behalf but I can confirm that it was received and the Minister is still looking into it,” confirmed Khumomatlhare.
The petitioners’ contention is that the current Acting VC has overstayed his acting position since 2014 without any one relieving him. The overstaying has delayed the progress of turning BUAN into a fully-fledged university. The staff also argues that currently they do not have faculties, job profiles and salary structures; all these crucial structures have suffered delays even though they were assured they would be ready by the beginning of July 2016. “This situation further exerts uncertainty and perplexity on staff members and consequently lack of confidence on the incumbent.
The continued exclusive re-appointment of the same individual to the position of Acting Vice Chancellor has created a vacuum that has resulted in lack of focus and direction for BUAN,” reads part of the petition.
This scenario, according to the petition, has excluded competent staff members from taking up the acting position to forge ahead with the transformation process, which has now stagnated. This prolonged and exclusive stay of the current acting VC may be a violation of Botswana labour laws and further disadvantages illegible staff members from acquiring dynamic managerial experience.
This state of affairs they indicated has adversely affected the entire staff morale and has left them utterly frustrated and disillusioned. The staff further indicates that there is a critical lack of transparency, consultation and failure to communicate with staff about the transformation process of BUAN. The general staff believe that the anticipated launch of BUAN would be pre-mature and should be aborted because BUAN does not have credible and identifiable structures that could constitute the university which could be ready to be launched.
“It is our conviction that the launch of the university should be spearheaded by a fully-fledged and qualified individual whose credibility as leader has been proven internationally and regionally.” In view of the above, the general staff membership is of the view that the current acting VC has failed to implement the transformation process to its logical conclusion – a fully-fledged university of agriculture - and should therefore be relieved of his position.
Consequent to the above concerns, the staff is urgently demanding that the statutes, which have been approved, be implemented without any further delays to constitute the Governing Council and other university structures that would then facilitate the advertisement of the VC’s post and the establishment of faculties for BUAN. They also want the appointment of the current acting VC to be reversed and another qualifying staff member be appointed to act the period envisaged for the current acting VC (1st August 2016 – 30th Jan 2017). “If our requests are not considered within fourteen (14) days, staff members may consider boycotting the anticipated launch of the so-called university and any other future events related to the university,” reads the petition.