The newly elected University of Botswana Student Representative Council (SRC) has decried lack of recognition by the institution’s management. Speaking in an interview with this publication, Leak Seboko, the SRC Minister of Information and Publicity expressed frustration at the management saying they had been elected by the students but they cannot help them with their daily needs as they are not recognised.
Seboko said they were told by management that they are not recognized because they did not follow instructions that called for them not to align themselves to any political party, something he said was not true. “All the parties removed their mother parties from anything that had to do with the elections, and the same management which wouldn’t let us use the ballot papers we had printed produced old ballot papers that had party symbols and the students went ahead and voted,” he said.
Seboko accused management of funding a newly formed ‘Re Sum Movement’ which he suspects could be the reason why they are not recognised, because the chosen ones performed dismally. “The Student Welfare Department had their stamp on a memorandum endorsing the ‘Re Sum’ candidates, we went to them to complain, they then issued a retraction distancing themselves from the candidates but we already knew what was going on,” he said.
Contacted for comment, UB Director of Public Affairs, Mhitshane Reetsang dismissed the claims. “The only reason they would not be recognized would be if they did not follow the right procedure when conducting the elections,” she said. Reetsang further said management is still awaiting a report from the electoral board to determine whether the SRC should be recognized or not. This was, however, disputed by Seboko who claims he was present when the electoral officer handed the report to Student Welfare Manager, Barbara Pansiri. Reetsang also dismissed the accusation that management funded a certain movement, stating that the new members are just talking out of frustration and should wait for management to get the report.
Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer, Kutlwano Tlotleng told this publication that she submitted the report to management through the Student Welfare Department. “Instead of saying it was not submitted, they could be saying they are still verifying, or whatever it is they are still doing with it.”
The UB management has banned politics at the institution, a move that saw the student take the matter up with the High Court where they were unsuccessful. The students then removed their party names and elections were conducted. The SRC has since been inaugurated by the Student Judiciary.