AN OPEN LETTER TO MR SETUME: DEAN OF EXTERNAL AFFARIRS AT BOTHO UNIVERSITY
I so wish you will peacefully receive my revolutionary greetings old man. Please forgive me for the manner in which I am penning this open letter to you, for I am still licking the wounds you have inflicted on us (Botho University students). In as much as I understand you are the chief reason behind many disheartening incidents that transpired for the past weeks. You are the chief reason behind cops being invited to inflict pain on innocent Botho University Students, you are the man who was always with cops giving them instructions, and you are the chief reason behind the suspension of our SRC. Sorry, this is what I learned in literature, that, “No matter how long a fish stays in water it will never be a crocodile”. Gentlemen, no matter how hard you try to be an Indian, you will never be an Indian, no matter how hard you try to adapt to the Indian assent, you will never be an Indian. You will die a Motswana. You are just a mere mortal like the rest of us; the only difference is our CV’s. I might be nobody in the academic circles like you, but we all Batswana, we all speak Setswana, English is just a foreign language for u, and lastly your qualifications (Deanship) will not enter into haven, neither will they be recognized in hell!
I vividly remember few months back when the students called a meeting at the courtyard for you to address them on issues of Bookstore Monopoly. You failed to answer simple questions raised by students; you failed to meet the demands of the masses who gathered at the courtyard. I still remember the last words you uttered as you motioned the vice chancellor to the so called Tsodilo chamber, “let’s go, there is no such amount of sense we can generate out of this”. The students were brutalized for demanding logical answers, brutalized for demonstrating peacefully against issues of Bookstore monopoly, incompetent lectures, unaccredited courses, fake doctors and shortage of learning facilities and improvement of learning environments for students in Engineering, sports management, jewelry management to mention few.
Instead of calling for a dialogue with student leaders, you pounced on them. Thanks for student’s lawyer, advocate Kago Mokotedi for having rescued our SRC from what could have led to their expulsion in school. Yours was a personal issue, you are a heartless man whose dream was to see our SRC being expelled from school. In African literature they say, “If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail”. Your lack of conflict resolution mechanisms between the students and the top management is the reason why the cops are always deployed into the school to intervene whenever we differ. The cops are your only tools, and our problems are perceived to as nails hence, the reason why you always hammer! You are the men whose ambitions are to throw our futures into doldrums; you planted seeds of hate into our hearts. This seeds will be carried for our entire journey of study in Botho University. You will never be forgiven for the statements you made on television and national radio stations that our courses are being accredited. You must take onus for that rapacious and nefarious decision to suspend innocent Botho University students, for the disturbed incidents at the University, student’s brutality and closure of the University.
You are the man who always made explosive utterances to the media that are sometimes misleading and so dangerous. In my opinion the decision to suspend students and taking them to court is in contradiction with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) article 18, which states that; everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right include freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, whether alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his thoughts, beliefs or religion. Further, your decision contradict with article 19, which gives everyone the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right include freedom to hold opinions without interference and or to seek, receive and or impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. The whole paragraph was to enlighten you of our rights you old man!
Who and where on earth are my fellow brothers and sisters going to be employed with recognized but unaccredited certificates and degrees? Who on earth is going to employ and accountant from Botho University who is incompetent with any accounting software? Who on earth will dare employ a student taught by a fake doctor? Who on earth will dare employ an engineer from BU who can’t even construct a simple electrical circuit? Who will dare employ a mere forensic expert who wrote exams set by fellow students? Who will dare hire a Health information manager from BU, a sport management student who never had physical access to sports equipment’s, a mere multimedia student who never saw a camera in front of them? The only time they saw a camera was when they were caught in Botho CCTV’s for being an integral part of student’s revolution movements!
Gentlemen, making transparency and accountability recognized key conditions for promoting integrity and solving the impossible will bring us to peace. Just producing a report on recommendations from Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) on the status core of courses will solve the unrest and bring peace amongst us. The cops and SSG’s will not solve the unrest but instead instill the spirit of fighting and act as catalysts to the situation at hand. The government might be turning a blind eye on us, but god is watching! If I were you, I’d stop ignorantly reducing my chances of entering gates of heaven!
Clearly something is amiss when the University refuses to listens to the demands of its core stakeholders, instead deploys police using excessive force to brutalize us. Mr. Setume, for weeks you have appeared in my dreams. In fact that were not sweet dreams, it was nightmares! Please let alone this unrest be solved and I would start dreaming of my future cars, my future wife and kids, my future career as a charted Accountant. If it wasn’t of the dignity, discipline and respect I have for elders, I would refer to you as a mere bootlicker, a liar, a heartless monger, a living ghost, but our African norms doesn’t allow me to do that.
To my fellow Bu students, whether affected or not, that is, whether your course accredited or not. At the end we are all affected somehow, it’s not only about issues of accreditation. Let us all unite and continue with the struggle. Let us not give up, remember in today’s politics, peaceful demonstrations are deemed to be threats to national security, hence the reason for brutality! In Zimbabwe, Pastor Evan Mawarire is being persecuted simply for demanding accountability. In South Africa, University students asking for their constitutionally enshrined right to education were met with excessive force by the cops. In Swaziland, Bhekhu Makhubu was harassed simply for calling for an independent judiciary, in Botswana, UB students were brutalized for demanding for their monthly living allowances, at Botho University students are brutalized for calling for accreditation of courses. #SCREENSHOT THIS ONE TOO!
VIVA STUDENTS POWER VIVA! ALUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTA!
Benny K. Peter
A poet, a novelist and a historian
The author of the forthcoming book “THE TAILS”
Benny is writing from mosolotshane Farms
BCP-UDC youth Activist and communist
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