THE UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA STRIKE WAS GERMANE
Allow me to substitute the word “PROTEST” with the word “RIOT” even though I am very conscious there is a huge difference between the TWO. There are some circumstances capable of paralleling the variance between these two words to be the same. Matter of fact when a peaceful protest is unrewarding it is most likely to principal to a riot. Therefore a riot is simply a defecate of overlooked protest.
In most cases protests usually start off serenely and when there is no a sign of accomplishment or adequate response they can transmute into riots ending in looting. Riots in university campuses are not a new phenomenon especially where there is injustice but they are clearly swelling in prevalence and magnitude, law enforcements officials become involved to maintain order, sporadic disruptions begin to escalate and eventually violence and destructive behaviours are likely to supervene.
From the bantam experience of being a university student in Botswana I know how tertiary students in Botswana both self-sponsored and Government sponsored are taken for granted by the so called policy makers or the Government together with appropriate ministry, Let alone the ideas, the concerns and requests of students are never given first priority as projected. This is a sign that we have indiscreet leaders as a country! Who are just office-bearers without passion of serving mankind but rather filled with self-enrichment pursuits, Corruption, and incompetency. However we have few leaders who exercise positive influence, who are motivated by purpose, convictions, vision, amenity to mankind and the desire to facilitate the interests and visions of the people they serve and I cannot deny it’s a blessing.
When leaders fail to inspire and serve the people they end up using extortion and they tend to resort manipulation. Same applies to most leaders in our respective Government and its departments they do not portray any signs of leadership rather they act to the public as leaders when in actual fact they are just professional manipulators. They play on people’s fears; they use a carrot and stick approach on people, and threaten and coerce them. That is not leadership it is Masquerading Dictatorship.
Now looking at the Situation that’s at hand at the University of Botswana I am concerned because ive been through the same hell they are going through right now and it’s not any syrupy. I have been there! I know the pain of having to suffer the ineptitude of the university management, its interconnected departments and its supervision when you are just a helpless young person. The sad part about it is when the students party try to make efforts to raise their worries through diplomatic means like petitions the relevant people (management, ministry or anyone at the top) have a tendency to overlook the situation and take the grievances of students jokily. WHY? Is it because they don’t have kids studying in Botswana institutions or is it because they don’t have the heart of serving mankind?
Imagine the kids having to stay up to two months without any living allowance, Remember!!! Approximately 80% of these students come from bad-socio-economic backgrounds therefore this living allowance is their only hope, it’s their only source of income to assist them in meeting their day to day needs since the education system in Botswana does not allow part time occupation for university students. How do they hit the books on empty stomachs? How do they show up to classes and participate without security of meeting their rudimentary needs if the allowance to meet basic needs is not met? Think about it? It’s fracturing!
It’s more discreditable that when these helpless scholars seek noteworthy answers from the department accountable for crediting their allowance they get no response, No one communicates with them. What do we expect them to do? Because that is defilement of their rights! The only option they had was to respond to such violence with violence by means of rioting. They had to pursue social justice since everyone who could give them accurate answers appeared to be less bothered. I know the conduct of rioters is most likely to be excruciating especially the way it is embroidered by media coverage, it can cause turbulences to everyone else; it is exorbitant and unacceptable…however was it necessary to send cops and soldiers to whoop them? Instead of addressing or comforting them on their cry and we initiate a violent approach of sending cops to beat them? That’s foolishness; I repeat its foolishness with capital Letters FOOLISHNESS! You cannot put off fire with petrol.
With all that had transpired do we suppose the kids will execute well to their maximum in their examinations by the end of the semester after experiencing all those circumstances? At the end of the day will anyone mark their papers bearing in mind the situations they’re facing right now? NO ,no one will….And it’s too bad we have institutions that want to implement premier world criterions only on students side yet the same institutes fail to meet such standards on management level. Incompetent management in Institutions of higher learning similar to that revealed by UB management is forsaking the students of Botswana therefore a sharp eye must be kept on such.
I had to put pen to paper about all these because I have family and Friends who are studying in UB, I wrote this as a young person who knows the pain of being taken light-hearted when you seek answers, I wrote this as a visionary who can foretell the long term ramification of this kind of comportment portrayed by UB management together with, DTEF and the ministers of education. My request to our leaders Ministers of Education, And other administrators in relevant departments is that the youth (we) are the leaders and the future of tomorrow therefore if there is anything the youths are discontented about which makes learning unfavourable for them, their voices must be heard and re-joined with solutions. The modus operandi of referring soldiers and police officers when youth are on disapprovals with the government or the administration is not what we expect in a so called democratic country, it’s a reflection of Pusillanimity, lack of astuteness by leaders and it interferes with the people’s sovereignty of expression.
To conclude let me acclaim few leaders whom while the public tossed negative interpretations and shunned the UB students for the riot they embarked on; unlike the rest they instigated a better way of addressing the matter. The major of Gaborone City, The MP of Gaborone central Mr. Phenyo Butale and The president of the Opposition Mr Duma Boko and others…they exhibited first class benevolence which we expect from leaders and the world need more people like them. May God bless them!