The Botswana International University of Science and Technology, which has lost its two most senior leaders, the chairman, Serwalo Tumelo and lately, its Vice, Chancellor, Professor Hillary Inyang, to lose its chancellor, former President Festus Mogae.
Sources close to developments at the BIUST revealed that Mogae might be replaced by Vice-President Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who retires from civil service at the end of this month.
BIUST is the brainchild of Mogae, which he started during his presidency.
During his inauguration as the chancellor of the university in 2012 by President Ian Khama, in his acceptance speech the former president expressed his misgivings on the low pace of relocating BIUST to Palapye.
Mogae’s running’s with the current government over the BIUST is said to have started when they refused to renew the contract of the first vice chancellor, Bentil.
The name of the outgoing Vice President, is said to be on the top list of those who are likely to take over from Mogae.
The BIUST Act automatically confers the position of the University Chancellor on the President of the Republic of Botswana and it is upon him to choose who will hold the position on his behalf.
“The replacement of Mogae as Chancellor of BIUST might take place after the general elections,” said the source.
Inyang referred inquiries on his resignation to BIUST Director of Communications Shakie Kebaswele, who could not confirm or deny that Inyang has tendered his resignation but was quick to add that Tumelo was his pillar of strength. “It was during Tumelo leadership that BIUST managed to relocate to its main base of Palapye and increased its enrollment of 250 to 1500 students,” said Kebaswele.
He revealed that BIUST was built without a physical master plan and upon assuming the chairmanship of the council, Tumelo supported the current VC to ensure that a master plan is developed. The science and technology university cost government over P429 million.
When government cut off their budget on the expansion of the university it was Tumelo who came up with an idea of refurbishing the old Sekgoma Memorial Hospital and make it part of their campus, said Kebaswele.
He said that both Mogae and Inyang are devastated at the removal of Tumelo as BIUST council chairman.
“I can confirm to you that they are totally not happy on the current development because he worked well with them and was very supportive.
The BIUST project has always been dogged by controversies since 2011, when the review committee of the institution questioned construction of the 24.5 km wall worth P22 million.
In its report, the review committee observed that there was lack of clarity of roles between the BIUST council and the ministry, between the council, the project implementation team and other stakeholders which led to confusion and highly disoriented implementation of the project process.
They also observed that the founding development has been wrongly situated on the plot, that is not at the originally intended position.
BIUST was established to become a centre of excellence and innovation in SADC region and was planned was to accommodate 6 000 students from undergraduate to doctoral levels.
Efforts to get comment from Sebetlela were futile at the time of going to press as his mobile phone did not go through.