Cabinet has approved the appointment of a new chairman of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). Bernard Bolele is the new chairman of the University and Acting chairman, Boyce Sebetela will make way for him.
Bolele’s appointment follows the removal of former permanent secretary, Serwalo Tumelo and the ultimate resignation of BIUST Vice Chancellor, Distinguished Professor Hillary Iyang. Tumelo’s differences with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development hierarchy led to an acrimonious relationship that was untenable. Iyang’s resignation was premised on his claims that some staff members were meddling on governance issues. Government has accepted his resignation and an Acting Vice Chancellor and Acting Vice Chancellor have been appointed.
The Chairman of BIUST is a man of colourful track record when it comes to boardroom issues – Bolele a former Member of Parliament for Mahalapye West and currently a practicing Attorney has served in many boards of parastatals and private companies. He has also been a director of several companies.
Bolele has served in the Bank of Botswana board from 2004 to 2008 as a member. He has also been a member of the Botswana Railways board for over 9 years. He was the founding chairman of BR Properties, a company that set up the Railpark mall in Gaborone. His contact with the private sector and various industries also positions him well for the BIUST portfolio. Bolele has been chairman of Gabcon, has served in Caltex Botswana board and has also been one of the directors of Alan Gray.
Bolele’s experience and his calm persona are expected to help stabilise BIUST whose governing structure was faced with personal battles among some board members. He is expected to use his experience and legal background to help BIUST take shape quickly.
The new chairman’s principal role will be to manage and to provide leadership to the Board of Directors of the University. As Chairman, Bolele is accountable to the Board and acts as a direct liaison between the Board and the management of the BIUST, through the Vice Chancellor.
Bolele will have to deal with the concept of separation of the role of the Chairman from that of the Vice Chancellor at BIUST as it implies that the Chairman should be independent from management and free from any interest and any business or other relationship which could interfere with the Chairman’s independent judgment other than interests. This appeared to be the cancer that was eating through BIUST under the former leadership of Tumelo and Iyang.
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.