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Home » News » General » Mokgwathi warns UB –SRC against party politics

Mokgwathi warns UB –SRC against party politics

Publishing Date : 17 October, 2017

Author : BAKANG TIRO

The newly elected University of Botswana Student Representative Council (SRC) members have been told to stay away from party politics but instead serve the interests of students.
 

The call was made by UB Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, Professor Martin Mokgwathi during the SRC inauguration this week. Mokgwathi indicated that partisan involvement and activism leads to the SRC members serving the interests and agendas of political parties and not those of the students. “The SRC is not the backbench of political parties, you should not be politically aligned in any way, you serve the students community’s interests and not politicians,” said Mokgwathi.
 

The University of Botswana Council took a decision in 2015 to ban partisan politics, allegedly responding to the unbecoming conduct of previous SRC’s who were said to be driven by political interference rather advocating for students’ interests. The decision was followed by the call for establishment of students’ movements rather politically affiliated bodies to run for SRC elections.


During his address this week, Professor Mokgwathi encouraged the student leaders not to push political parties’ interests at the expense of the students. In recent years the UB has experienced souring relations between students and the management. The escalation of differences between the SRC and the UB management had led to politically charged demonstrations and internal conflicts within the SRC.
 

“The SRC is a statutory body in UB because the University values students as an important stakeholder. Therefore you are expected to represent the student community to the best of your ability, and students have an expectation from their leadership,” the Professor said. The Deputy Vice Chancellor further stated that the SRC should be voted in every March of the year. He explained that this year the elections were delayed due to some issues within the student body.

The university has been without an SRC for six months. The term of the former SRC elapsed in March this year only for the new SRC to be elected on the 15th of September. Mokgwathi outlined the roles of the SRC as prescribed in the constitution observing that the SRC is the link between the students and the University management. He said the student representation should be done by adhering to the constitution, stressing that the student finances should be managed properly through professional’s advice.

Mokgwathi promised the student community the full support of management. Meanwhile, the recent past SRC president, Mr Bakotelo Mmipi encouraged the newly sworn in SRC members to put aside their interests and serve the students diligently. Mmipi said some elected persons tend to push their personal interests using the SRC office. He said some go to an extent of trying to enrich themselves with the students’ finances.
 

“The SRC is about serving the interests of all the students in the University without favor or prejudice, and it’s not about attaining wealth as it is normally the case with some people,” figured Mmipi. He also stressed that the SRC should avoid political interference and to put aside their political differences for better service delivery. “Sacrifice your political affiliations so that you can work together and put the interests of the students at the forefront. The students are the ones who voted you; and they should also hold you accountable,’’ he said.
 

The outgoing president pleaded with the management to work cordially with the SRC in order to avoid past disputes such as strikes which were mainly due to lack of support and cooperation from the management. For his part, the newly elected President Mr Oteng Vicer Eleck, told this publication on the sidelines of the inauguration that they are looking forward to working with each other despite their political differences.

“As leaders we are looking forward to a united and vibrant SRC, inclusive of all students.”

The BDP linked GS 26 won 7 seats out of the 13 council seats, with the UDC linked Moono wa Baithuti scooping 6 seats. The GS 26 managed to retain the presidency seat won by Oteng Eleck, who now succeeds Bakotelo Mmipi. On the other hand Moono wa Baithuti retained the vice presidency won by Refilwe Gaelesiwe the only female in the council, succeeding Dikosha Dikosha.

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