UB Council chair under fire

Academic and senior support staff declare motion of no confidence in Makhema


The University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSSU) has declared a motion of no confidence against the Chairperson of the University Council, Dr Joseph Makhema, on account of his alleged incompetence and failure to observe good governance practices.

The union accused Makhema of disregarding due process and the rule of law in making decisions affecting the welfare of staff and the interests of the university as an institution.
UBASSSU will today assemble at the university to read out the petition listing a series of its complaints about him, his leadership style and alleged maladministration, among others. The union accuses Makhema of condoning corruption at the institution by allowing unethical conduct that includes of conflict of interest. The list of complaints includes:

  • A cloud of secrecy in decisions of the council.
  • Condonation of violation of due process in making administrative decisions on appointments and promotions.
  • Unsanctioned/illegal restructuring of the university’s functional units such as at the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) and the Human Resources Department.

According to the union, Makhema does not want to engage with them on pressing welfare matters affecting their members. Examples of these are in so administrative decisions that were made without regard to legality, reason and procedural fairness such as in appointments and renewal of the contracts of some people in the employ of the university.
“The pronouncement by the Chairman of Council that Council had made a decision for the university to not pay the University of Botswana staff their deserved performance related rewards after the conclusion of the 2018 calendar year’s assessment cycle, and this communication having been made directly to the UB staff by him without the Vice Chancellor’s participation, is evidence of a person who pays lip service to due process,” reads the petition.

The union says it has witnessed manifestation of the same old antics of the previous council that nurtured institutionalisation of unaccountable decision-making. “Thus, the current Chairman’s attitude is a stark reminder of the dark days that characterised the immediate past Council where adherence to good corporate governance proved elusive,” they say.
The union says interaction with the Chairman of Council has revealed a man who lacks proper and sound understanding of the identity of the University of Botswana as a comprehensive public tertiary education institution created by an Act of Parliament.

It questions the chairman ‘s inability to welfare and salary issues. Makhema is also accused of dishonesty regarding decisions of the council to stakeholders and has allegedly plunged the institution into financial distress. Attempts to get a right of reply from Makhema were fruitless at press time.