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Dow attacks former BIUST VC’s

Unity Dow justifies political/ external interference at the institution

Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) Dr. Unity Dow on Friday explained the reasons that led to the resignation of the renowned Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Vice Chancellor Professor Hillary Inyang and subsequently the then Acting VC Professor Dennis Siginer.


Both distinguished former VC’s Professor Inyang and Siginer resigned from the University citing similar reasons of political and external interference and micro-management of university by the then Acting Board Chairperson Boyce Sebetela who was recently replaced by Bernard Bolele.


The Assistant Minister was making a submission at parliament in the form of a statement on the current issues at BIUST that have been the subject of discussion in the media.


According to Dow, the resignation of the VC’s were influenced by their unlawful conduct as some non-citizens staff  were brought into the country for employment at BIUST without following procedures and indeed the applicable laws governing engagements of non-citizens.


“These people worked without the necessary permits and were employed and paid outside the BIUST Council approved organizational structures.” This happened despite advice of the relevant departments within the university, Dow explained.


According to Dow, the Immigration and Labour authorities had even been roped in to investigate the matter at BIUST. “Ofcourse when the Immigration and Labour authorities had wind of this state of affairs, the relevant officers, in their normal course of duty and acting in accordance with the relevant labour legislation visited the university to investigate.”


This labour inspection is what the then Vice Chancellor referred to as “attempted abduction” of foreign staff, hence his so called security concerns, Dow explained.


In the VC’s resignation letter which was quoted widely in the print media, he cited among his reasons, the so called “security of foreign staff at BIUST” and what he referred to as “externally derived interferences.”


Dow defends interference at BIUST
Regarding the external interferences, the Assistant Minister pointed out that some members of Council in becoming aware of some of this and other transgressions, raised concerns during Council and even outside Council meetings. She stated: “At the centre of this were lapses in governance at the University. Council meetings were not as regular as expected but decisions that are the prerogative of Council were made and implemented by the leadership of the university.”


Following the resignation of Professor Inyang, the then Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development Mokgweetsi Masisi appointed as acting Vice Chancellor the then Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost, Professor Dennis Siginer. He also subsequently resigned from the top portfolio and reverted to his substantive position. He also gave his reasons for resignation alleged micromanagement and interference by the then Acting Chairperson of the Council Boyce Sebetlela.


The Assistant Minister also highlighted that in view of the special circumstances and challenges facing BIUST, including delayed commencement of the academic year 2014/15, Council had resolved to intervene and instructed that the acting chairperson of council should, to the extent possible, closely support management of the university in its efforts to move forward the necessary academic staff, infrastructural developments – although the move was also seen as inteferrance.


“At this stage of development, BIUST remains a project and therefore deserves this kind of support and for the ministry and/or council to intervene as necessary,” Dow justified.


Future of BIUST: next academic year
Dow assured parliament that BIUST’s academic progress is running appropriately. She said she recently visited the institution and was able to appreciate ongoing efforts to prepare for the opening of the academic year on 2 February 2015.
She said she also witnessed the registration of students which commenced on 28 November 2014 and ended on 9 December 2014. All students, she added, who have been offered admission turned up for registration.
 

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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