The Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele has appointed Professor David Norris to the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana. Professor Norris, who assumed duty on 1 December 2017, becomes the sixth Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana since its inception in 1982.
Professor Norris is an experienced leader, researcher and lecturer, having served in different capacities in Botswana, the United States of America and South Africa. Prior to joining UB, he was Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST), a position he had held since 2016.
He also worked for the University of Limpopo (formerly University of the North) in South Africa, where he served as Director of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences between 2001 and 2016. He previously worked for Austin Peay State University, USA from 1998 to 2000.
Professor Norris graduated from the University of Botswana with a BSc in Biology and Physics in 1988, and worked for the Department of Agricultural Research as well as being a part time biology lecturer at UB between 1988 and 1995. He holds a PhD in Animal Science obtained from Michigan State University (USA) in 1998, with a Major in Animal Breeding and Genetics and Minors in Statistics and Animal Biotechnology.
He also holds an MSc in Animal and Forage Science obtained from the University of Reading (UK) in 1991 with a Major in Animal production and Minors in Biochemistry. He has a Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Research for Development which he obtained from Wageningen International Centre for Development Oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) in The Netherlands in 2008.
Professor Norris is a renowned scholar who has published widely in reputable journals. His notable strengths are in Innovative Teaching and Learning; Curriculum Development and Review; Research Development and Innovation; Higher Education Administration and Management; Change Management; Process Management and Strategic Leadership; with notable record in research collaboration and research fundraising.
In the agricultural sector, Professor Norris’ strength is in the Development of Agricultural Strategies and Hubs. He has published extensively in refereed journals and conference proceedings, supervised and co-supervised a number of Masters and PhD students. He has been an external examiner for various regional and overseas universities; reviewer and member of editorial and advisory boards of numerous science publications. Professor Norris brings with him a wealth of expertise in research development and innovation, teaching and learning, and curriculum development and review.
President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has identified at least 12 cabinet ministers who form part of his long-term plans owing to their loyalty and tenacity in delivering his vision. Masisi, who will see-off his term in 2028 — provided he wins re-election in 2024 — already knows key people who will help him govern until the end of his term, WeekendPost has learnt.
Despite negative criticism towards ministers from some quarters over a number of decisions and their somewhat cold deliberations and failure to articulate government programs, Masisi is said to be a number one cheer leader of his cabinet. He is said to have more confidence in his cabinet and believes going forward they will reach the aspired levels and silence the critics.
The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.
WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?
Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.
Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed. This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.
In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’ The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.