As more revelations continue to come to the fore on high profile government officials with questionable curriculum vitae (CV), Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi comes out among those who might have padded their résumé with questionable academic credentials.
For the past 5 weeks, this publication has been trying to get answers from government spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay and Masisi’s private secretary Masego Mosate pertaining to the Vice President’s academic journey without any success.
The Botswana Gazette examined Masisi’s CV, as posted on his official social media accounts and found it to raise questions as to its veracity. During the resultant investigation, this publication requested Ramsay to provide Masisi’s official CV, he did so. Ramsay availed the same CV as the one posted on Masisis’s official Facebook page, which is being used by Government in all correspondence in respect of the Vice President’s educational background.
In his official CV, Masisi states that he pursued a PhD in epidemiology (the study and analysis of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations) in 2003. Asked whether Masisi has completed or is still studying for this PhD, Ramsay said Masisi has ‘‘put aside his PhD pursuit’’. He however could not explain why the ‘PhD pursuit’ is still listed in the current CV if it has been put aside.
Ramsay could not explain other questionable aspects on Masisi’s CV and advised that, ‘‘I have referred the rest to his private secretary, who will get back to me. With Congress ongoing, however, I cannot promise before Monday.’’ That response was just before the BDP Tonota congress and 3 weeks after the congress; Ramsay advised that Masisi’s private secretary had not yet provided answers to our questions.
When contracted directly, Masisi’s private secretary, Mosate, also failed to provide answers, as she said she was in a meeting when we made a follow-up call on Monday to enquire about the questions sent a month ago.
According to the CV, Masisi started teaching at Mmanaana Secondary School in Moshupa in 1984 at the age of 22. He was transferred to the department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation in 1987 and worked as a Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, where he supervised a group of subjects (Social Studies, Music, Religious and Moral Education). In 1989 he studied at graduate level at Florida State University, USA, specialising in Social Studies Education and Instructional Systems Design.
In 1990 Masisi re-joined the department of Curriculum Development and oversaw Social Studies and other subjects. In this capacity, he played a major role in development of new assessment system of Criterion Referenced Testing (CRT). According to the dates provided, Masisi studied for his Master’s degree for a year.
The Botswana Gazette sought to establish whether he completed his studies, as information gathered indicates the university he is said to have attended only provides a 2 year Masters Program. Masisi’s CV does not state if he has an undergraduate qualification, which is a pre-requisite for graduate studies at the Florida State University.
Investigations also tried to ascertain whether Masisi studied at University of Botswana as the information obtained reflects that the Vice President acquired a Diploma in teaching from the Molepolole College of Education, which does not offer graduate qualifications.
Lawrence Ookeditse, writer and academic in Politics and International Relations at the University of Botswana wrote in the Mmegi newspaper (February 2011), suggesting that Masisi was in the class of 2000 at Manchester University. This detail, if factual has been omitted in the CV and OP has not provided any clarification despite this publications requests for information.
This publication sought clarification from both Ramsay and Mosate to be provided with details of this degree and subjects undertaken at the University as Manchester qualifications have not been included in Masisi’s CV. On the contrary, in 2000, the CV states he was working for UNICEF from 1995 as Education Project Officer until he resigned to join politics in 2003. There is no indication as to whether Masisi conducted the Manchester degree by distance learning.
With government officials failing to come forth with explanations on Masisi’s educational background, a simple matter, his academic background is bound to remain a mystery and raise questions. Masisi is touted to become the next president of the republic in less than a year.