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UB finally bans partisan politics

Publishing Date : 23 March, 2015


The University of Botswana Council has resolved to finally ban partisan politics within its corridors for good. According to the university spokesperson, Mhitshane Reetsang, the council arrived at that decision after realising that the previous Student Representative Councils (SRC) shifted from advocating for students as a core mandate to pushing the agendas of certain political parties.

Reetsang highlighted that as an international institution of repute, UB strives to attract students across all the continents and divisive mechanisms such as partisan politics would automatically suppress their ambitions.

“As a university, we felt that there was a disturbing external political inference on the running of the SRC hence the decision to abolish partisan politics amongst our students, but outside our borders, students have the right to be involved in any political activity as per the freedom of association enshrined in the constitution,’ explained Reetsang.

She further expounded that the UB aspires for a united and strong SRC that would help grow the institution and not one that would always be at loggerheads with the management as has been the case.

The university mouthpiece also warned that political leaders who wished to address the students would have to follow the right channels. She also cautioned students to adhere to the council resolution.

The outgoing SRC president, Jacob Kelebeng said he was disappointed by the council decision. According to him, UB is a nucleus of national politics as it has produced notable politicians like Dumelang Saleshando, Duma Boko, Botsalo Ntuane, Prince Maele, Kagiso Thutwe, Haskins Nkaigwa and Sadique Kebonang to mention but a few.

Kelebeng said he believes the council chairman at times imposed his unilateral and unpopular decisions on fellow council members as he previously ordered that the student bar be closed. He explained that the council mistakes voluntary student movements to structures of certain political parties.

Renowned political analyst, Lawrence Ookeditse castigated the decision of the council saying it was so unfortunate and uncalled for.

“I do not know how it contributes to the development of leadership in the country. It is a selfish move intended to shield UB management from scrutiny more than anything. This is a university and not some high school for goodness sake. We are not doing ourselves justice by banning politics everywhere yet they play a critical role in our country. It is sad that politics are always demonized and blacklisted, as it is in military barracks and civil service,” remarked Ookeditse.

UB SRC elections are scheduled to take place before the end of this month. As the university does not fund students for campaigns, certain students’ movements have pledged allegiance to national political parties for financial and logistics support.

GS 26 receives financial support from ruling BDP, MASS (Movement Against Student Suppression) from BNF, BSMD (Basco Student Movement for Democracy) from BMD and UBCD (University of Botswana Congress for Democracy) from BCP.



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