Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone Central has rubbished claims that he was booted out of the University of Botswana (UB) by security officers for addressing a public gathering on campus.
In an interview with Mmegi yesterday, Dumelang Saleshando, who is also the sole MP from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), said that he had finished talking to the students who have called on him to assist them with the accommodation problems they were experiencing at the university.
He said after learning of the problems, he wrote to the Student Representative Council (SRC), which is dominated by the Botswana National Front (BNF), requesting a meeting but his letter was never answered.
"So I decided to meet the concerned students who had been calling me in person, that is why I differed with the security personnel when they said I was addressing a public gathering. I do not need permission to meet someone on campus," he said.
The MP, whose constituency encompasses the UB, stated that he would continue meeting with the students directly if the SRC did not want to meet with him and continue making misleading statements in the media while using "the office to prop up the BNF on campus".
However, one of the ministers who met with the MP Morati Keitshokile confirmed the incident and said that the legislator's decision to address the students without informing the SRC was unprocedural.
"He did not inform the SRC of his intentions to
He explained that the head of security came to their office to enquire if they were the ones who had invited the MP, which they denied.
"He then went downstairs and stopped him from talking to the students and brought him to our office where we had a meeting with him. We wanted to know why he was addressing the students while the SRC knew nothing about his intentions," Keitshokile said.
He said the SRC does not have the juridistiction to give permission to politicians to address student gatherings inside the campus.
"It was embarrassing for him as a public figure to be escorted like that by the security men while he knows well that there is a procedure to be followed if one wants to address a student gathering," Keitshokile said. The move comes a few months after UB approved a policy on partisan politics on campus, which will be implemented in November.
The policy discourages partisan politics on UB premises.
UB's public relations officials were not available for comment by the time of going to press.