Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) has moved to engage a document verification and background check company to enhance the integrity of its recruitment process in the recently advertised top posts, owing to previous fraud cases that ensnared the university.
BIUST, a state owned premier science and research institution is currently conducting the recruitment process for two senior posts; Deputy Vice Chancellors- Finance and Administration, and Deputy Vice Chancellors- Academic Affairs. BIUST confirmed last week that given the previous experience, in which the university employed a foreign national who was found to be in possession of dubious documents, the recruitment process has been tightened.
“The University has made a significant improvements on its recruitment process by expanding probity checks which include extensive security checks, employment and education verifications, publications, financial conduct and character analysis,” said the university Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Keoagile Rafifing. “This was to ensure that we recruit staff of high calibre and integrity.”
Although the university is handling the recruitment process internally, the institution has engaged a local based company, Infotrac Pty (Ltd) to conduct document verification and background checks for those who will be shortlisted for the two senior posts. “As an institution, especially of the BIUST calibre, you do not want by any chance to employ people who are not qualified and whom their qualifications are doubtful. It seriously dents the credibility of the institution and that is why it is important to conduct this process,” said Infotrac Director Mompoloki Motshidi
“Fraud is on the increase and it is even becoming more complex to deal with it, especially for international recruits. Previous incidents have shown that people fake qualifications mainly for top posts, and if there is no mechanism put in place, wrong people get the job.” The applications for the two posts are closing on the 23rd of March 2020, and subsequently the shortlisting process will be set in motion. BIUST, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Professor Otlogetswe Totolo, is finding its feet following challenging phases during formative years.
Professor Totolo is the 3rd Vice Chancellor of the university and first local to assume the post. His predecessors are Prof. Hillary Inyang and Prof. Kweku Bentil. After taking over the reins in 2016, Professor Totolo launched ambitious key strategies including substantial investment on research and development, human resource capability and collaboration with the industry that will see the university living its dream beyond the year 2022.
Professor Totolo, who has brought stability to the university, came on aboard amid new hopes that the institution will live up to its true expectation, with the Strategic Plan 2016-2022 seen as the blue print to transforming the Palapye based science and technology institution. As per his admission at the launch of the strategy, Professor said he wants his institution to set itself apart from other state owned institutions. He said BIUST should take a different path of not being heavily reliant on government for funding, but to explore other means of raising the funds.
Prof Totolo has been optimistic that, like other internationally recognised universities in the world, BIUST can forge formidable partnerships with the industry players and other philanthropic individuals to source out funds for the institution. “There are many people, whom I have met and interacted with who can be willing to give portions of their money to BIUST. But first we have to build relationships with them,” he said when launching the university strategy 2016-2022.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has been consistently ranked as a top technology university in the world has fostered a problem-solving approach that encourages researchers to work together across departments, fields, and institutional boundaries. The resulting collaborations have included thousands of fruitful partnerships with industry and other leading research institutions. Research sponsored directly by industry, according to the institution’s website totalled $134 million (about P1.4 billion) in fiscal year 2015, or 19 percent of all MIT research funding.
According to the National Science Foundation, MIT ranks first in industry-financed research and development expenditures among all universities and colleges without a medical school. MIT has partnership with over 700 companies. BIUST has indicated desire to form a close relationship with other quasi-government research institutions such as National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) among others.
It has been noted by BIUST itself that for it to claim the position of being considered the “engine of development” and flagship for science, engineering and technology university of reputable standing” it will depend on it being able to embark on researches which can transform into tangible applications and products of importance to the society.
During the five year strategy, the university will strive to build strong linkages with the industry, look for research funding from various sources and have adequate and sustainable research staff and infrastructure. By the 2022/23 academic year, BIUST plans to enrol 100 percent of the country’s top students, with 15 percent of its enrolment being international students. The institution will have 6000 students of which between 4500-5000 should be in undergraduate programmes, and 1000-1500 in post graduate programmes.
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.