Fako feared BIUST enticing salary would destroy UB
University of Botswana (UB) teaching and support staff this month got a morale boost following the decision to hike their salaries by an unprecedented 35 percent, following strong advocacy by Members of Parliament and their Vice Chancellor, Professor Thabo Fako.
After revelations about the salary disparity at the two state owned high learning institutions; University of Botswana (UB) and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), UB announced that its teaching staff will now get a handsome 35 percent increase; a development aimed at appeasing the UB teaching staff.
Some in the UB staff will also get 35 percent of salary as housing allowance. The increases are effective this month hence they are smiling all the way to the bank. The University of Botswana Council approved the increases this month.
Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) Kgotla Autlwetse revealed to Parliament before it concluded its busiess for the session, “the devastating difference between academics salaries at UB and BIUST”.
The MPs who were clearly not amused by the status quo also learned that low salaries had a negative impact on UB as lecturers resigned en-mass from the university in pursuit of greener pastures at BIUST.
Autlwetse told parliament that UB pays lecturers between P16,975 and P29,164 per month, while BIUST pays P32,060 monthly. Parliament also learnt that BIUST can pay up to 40 percent of the salary as supplementation.
“The University of Botswana pays between P25,546 to P32,525 per month to senior lecturers, while Botswana International University of Science and Technology pays their senior lecturers P39,695 per month,” Autlwetse told parliament. Parliament was informed by the Assistant Minister that associate professors at UB get paid between P30,936 and P35,532 per month, while BIUST pays them P49,969.
The issue of BIUST and UB salary disparities was brought to the attention of Parliament through Dithapelo Keorapetse, a Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West and former University of Botswana academic. There was a concern from MPs that the BIUST academic staff was entitled to lucrative allowances including the housing allowance.
Professor Fako also vented his disdain with the status quo ante recently at a consultative forum in which he invited all political parties represented in parliament to discuss the status of UB. Fako warned that the creation of new institution, notably BIUST was going to destroy UB, unless there was intervention to rescue the institution. Fako was certainly not amused by the quitting of academic staff from UB to join BIUST, which for a while looked like it would destabilise the university.
Fako was also not impressed with the verity that, government had totally diverted its attention from the UB to focus only on BIUST despite the university (UB) having played a massive role in contributing to the country’s human resource. Fako asserted that BIUST was receiving substantive grants on annual basis from government, while UB was not getting the same favour.
Assistant Minister Autlwetse, however shared with parliament that the UB through their council, was working on reviewing the terms and conditions for staff members and the submission was made to the ministry for determination. In the end government gave the nod to the recommendations made by the council to increase the academic staff salary by 35 percent.
Government had initially tried to play down the situation regarding the salary disparities by stating that the development was a result of BIUST being a new institution, therefore determined to attract skilled teaching staff to its ranks. Another matter which Fako had wanted to be attended to was immigration law, which he said prohibits the university from recruiting skilled academics from foreign countries.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.