The Acting Vice Chancellor of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology Distinguished Professor Dennis Siginer has appointed Professor John Cooke as Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs effective November 7, 2014 until further notice.
Professor Cooke is the founding Dean of the College of Sciences.â€¨Professor John Cooke obtained his Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Botany and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England, followed by a graduate qualification in Education from the University of Birmingham.
Since starting as a lecturer in 1973 he has held posts at universities in England, South Africa and now Botswana. Professor Cooke took up a professorship and Head of the Department of Biology at University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) in Durban in 1992.
In the past five years before coming to Botswana, he was Dean of Science and Agriculture and Senior Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This is one of the largest faculties of science in Africa with over 250 academic staff and 5 000 students. He currently holds a Professor Emeritus position at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
As a research scientist Professor Cooke has broad interests in Applied Ecology and has presented graduate courses and published original research in the areas of Ecotoxicology, the Ecological Restoration of Contaminated Land, and in Ethnobotany – particularly of medicinal plants.
From his research and with his Masters and Doctoral students he has written 65 publications as peer-reviewed chapters in books and papers in international science journals. In addition he has written 39 consultancy reports for industry and made over 60 presentations at international scientific conferences and educational workshops. He has also served as a referee for many international journals and as external examiner for doctoral thesis at international universities.
Professor Cooke is a dedicated teacher and strongly motivated as an educationalist and has played a significant role in higher education policy debates in England and in post-apartheid South Africa.
Professor Cooke has given freely of his time over the last 19 years to serve on many national committees in South Africa, including the National Programme Accreditation Committee for the Council for Higher Education, the Qualifications and Standards Committee of the South African Qualifications Authority and various policy review committees of the South African Vice Chancellors Association (now Higher Education South Africa). In Botswana he has contributed to a number of new national policies for science, research and innovation, and for research in tertiary education institutions.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.