The National University of Lesotho (NUL) community demand the immediate resignation of the Vice Chancellor (VC) Kananelo Mosito from the VC’s post in his acting capacity.
This was revealed by Dr Motlalepula Thuube the Senior Lecture of English and Current Lesotho University Teachers and Researchers Union (LUTARU) Interim President at a press conference at the university premises earlier this week.
According to Thuube the Vice Chancellor’s simultaneous engagement both at NUL and the Lesotho Court of Appeal adversely impacts the VC’s efforts in the discharge of his duties.
“If I may mention few of his duties that failed because he is not fully committed to the VC’s post, a case in point being the Supplementary Examinations and the Graduations Ceremonies which in these critical times in our history, had to be conducted online. Both these tasks require an undivided attention of the Vice Chancellor as the chief accounting officer of the NUL. In the converse case, the VC’s continued absence from his duty at NUL during critical periods in its almanac of events while discharging his judicial duties in Maseru negatively impacts service-delivery at NUL. We, therefore, demand the immediate resignation of the Vice Chancellor from the VC’s post in his acting capacity,” he said.
“Further to our petition for redress of our grievances is the Tloutle Holdings, which, for all intents and purposes, is a colossal wasting of the taxpayers’ money. The expenses incurred by NUL through the Tloutle Holdings outweigh the earnings. To this end, we demand an immediate investigation into the Tloutle Holdings and an immediate moratorium on its operations while investigations continue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senior Lecture in the department of English stated that the university has violated the COVID-19 protocols.
“With regard to the covid-19 pandemic, our management has demonstrated no serious interest and ability to respond to the challenges presented by the scourge. The management remained, and still remains, aloof and inactive. To date, there are no sound covid-19 safety measures for the NUL employees and students in relation to how they should protect themselves from exposure to, as well as infection with, the coronavirus disease, particularly basing ourselves on the different types of work we perform and the ways in which we interact with our clients (predominantly students) at work,” he added.
The LUTARU further indicated that they demand 5% inflation adjustor.
“The advent of the covid-19 pandemic since 10th January, 2020, has brought along with it declining economies with their attendant mercurial rises in the prices of goods and services all around the world. It is common knowledge that under the debilitating economic circumstances that continue to prevail, the NUL employees (like employees of any institution) are forever desperately trying to eke a living out of their already eroded salaries. Thus, it is our reasonable and genuine request that management should consider a 5% inflation adjustor retrospective from the end of July, 2020 for all NUL employees. In this regard, Mr. Vice Chancellor, we, the workers, are categorically saying that there is no proper vaccine for this economic malady, except to adjust their salaries,” he said.
Thuube stated that as part of their concerns they want the management to look into the issue of online teaching and learning.
“Online teaching and learning, which was arbitrarily imposed on staff and students alike without due consultations, has egregiously failed to produce the desired end-results.
Meanwhile the, the office of the vice chancellor has written a response letter to the petition NUL community.
In the letter signed for by Associate Professor Kananelo Mosito the Acting Vice Chancellor of NUL, he indicated that the petition submitted to the office of the vice chancellor was not based on any researched information. All attempts aimed at ascertaining the validity of its content were futile as a result of the uncooperative stance taken by the petitioners.
When responding to violation of Covid-19 protocols the office of the vice chancellor stated that had the petitioners done their research before they wrote, they would have found that the University has taken all precautions it can resourcefully afford.
“It began taking action in response to the pandemic in March 2020, and has been heavily engaged in proactive pandemic management. In order to minimize the spread of covid-19 the university has required face covering of all students and staff since March of 2020.
All university personnel, students, and visitors are required by the higher education institutions’ standards to maintain social distancing at all times while on campus to help prevent the spread of disease.”
In the matter where the petitioners complained about the office of the director, human resource, the office of the vice chancellor responded by saying when the petitioners were asked to mention such people who were wrongly appointed as employees they failed, and when asked to pin point the provisions of the laws they also failed. There is therefore no substance in this complaint.
“These petitioners are simply missing the point on this issue of the alleged VC’s failing to perform his core duties at the NUL due his continual absence. They complain that the supplementary examinations and graduations ceremony were conducted online because the VC was not present. This is absolute balderdash because, all university examinations (whether primary or supplementary), were officiated by the VC. Furthermore, had the petitioners done their research before they wrote, they would have found that, it is the Senate that decreed by resolution that, online operations shall be so conducted. These petitioners are not even aware the judicial functions neither were nor conducted from Maseru, but online. The VC did not have to be in Maseru for these functions to be conducted.
To further expose their own level of incomprehension, the petitioners demand that, an officer acting in a position by operation of law should resign as if he is occupying the post in question. This is a disturbing level of incomprehension.”
When responding to the wasting of the taxpayer’s money through the Tloutle Holding, the VC’s office said “one should be surprised at this un-researched level of noise making by these petitioners. The petitioners have not even provided a scintilla of evidence to support the claim for the demanded investigation.”
On the online teaching and learning issue the office of the VC argued that institutions on higher learning all over the world made the hard decision to shut their doors forcing an abrupt and nearly universal change to distance learning that proved disruptive for teachers, students and parents alike. “The petitioners complain that online teaching and learning was arbitrarily imposed on staff and students alike without consultations. There is not substance at all in this complaint.”