University of Botswana Academic & Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSSU) Secretary General Aobakwe Banamile says while there is an sense of relief that the university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Thabo Fako has resigned, they want an independent commission of inquiry to investigate his tenure in office. Fako resigned last week Friday.
Banamile said in a statement that they are happy with the resignation as it formed part of their demands tabled in a petition presented to the UB Council Chair Parks Tafa in late 2016. Banamile reiterated that the Union has called for an independent commission of inquiry, to thoroughly investigate a broad range of alleged acts of maladministration, corruption and financial imprudence that occurred during Fako’s tenure. Such a commission, he intimated would be done with a view of paving the way for the incoming Vice Chancellor and ease the incumbent’s operations in bringing normalcy to the university. “It is important to proceed with the commission so that the alleged acts of maladministration and related ills should not be repeated in the future.” he emphasised.
Furthermore, Banamile expressed the concerns of the Union which had strong reservations with the current setup in council which excluded key stakeholders from being involved in the appointment of the VC. “We feel he/she is being imposed on us by the appointing authorities,” adding that “We find this anomalous and not in line with the best practice common elsewhere in other universities where prospective candidates sell their visions to stakeholders before final appointment.”
The Union would therefore propose a shift in the appointment processes of either the acting or substantive VC which ought to include consultation with key stakeholders, including the Union. The Secretary General said such a change in policy would enhance accountability, transparency and responsiveness on the part of the appointed VC.
UBASSSU had in December last year, moved a motion of no confidence in respect of Prof. Fako’s leadership, calling on the Council chair to move swiftly to meet their demands and complaints. Amongst the litany of complaints by the Union was lack of consultation with staff by Fako, harassment and intimidation of Union leaders by management, lack of dissemination of information on key management and governance decisions as well as the manipulation of minutes and information in order to remove staff from work.