It still remains to be seen whose voice matters the most between the Student Community and the staff at the University of Botswana (UB). The two entities are at loggerheads regarding Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris’ leadership model.
While the staff trade unions; University of Botswana Academic Senior Support Staff Union, (UBASSSU), University of Botswana Staff Union (UBSU) and University of Botswana Manual Workers Union calls for the dismissal of the Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris, the Student Community; University of Botswana Student Representative Council (UBSRC) and Graduate Student Association (GSA) are pro Professor Norris.
As the events unfold, the Botswana Federation of Public, Parastatal and Private Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) stand in solidarity with their fellow workers at UB. BOFEPUSU is of the view that “Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris comes across as a unilateralist dictator, a power monger who doesn’t value the role of trade unions and workers’ representatives”.
Like the UB joint Trade Unions mentioned in their petition, BOFEPUSU lashed out in their press statement, “The Federation notes that under the leadership of Professor David Norris, workers are subjected to poor conditions of service as their welfare is not part of his management strategy. With regard to infrastructure and resources, there is acute shortage of essential equipment, the classroom environment is far below par, the standard and status of the University is deteriorating to embarassing levels. To say it is shameful is an understatement”
While the UB joint Trade Unions have submitted a petition to the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology- Dr Douglas Letsholathebe calling for dismissal of Professor Norris, the Federation says it is “currently working on a progressive programme to help workers at the University of Botswana in the quest for democratisation of the workplace and change of leadership to uplift the standard of the institution.”
Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, BOFEPUSU Secretary General
“We urge workers in other sectors to stand in solidarity with workers at the University of Botswana, for an injury to one is an injury to all.”