The week long Intervarsity Games hosted by the University of Botswana (UB) ended prematurely and abrumptly Thursday night as Police used force to disperse joy-lovers, while visiting students from Lesotho and Swaziland had to board their buses and vacate the UB premises in the middle of the night.
The visiting teams were initially scheduled to leave on Friday after the cultural night and a bash hosted by the hosts on Thursday.
However armed Police and the UB protections services closed down all social activities and forced everyone out as early as 9pm.
While the visiting students from Lesotho and Swaziland were told to vacate the university premises immediately, joy-lovers from across Gaborone were not allowed to enter the premises and stalls selling drinks and snacks were shut down as hawkers, who were looking forward to brisk business, counted the losses..
President of the UB Student Representative Council (SRC), Jacob Kelebeng said as the relevant stakeholders responsible for the social part of the games, they were not informed about the emergency directive from the UB management to shut down all the social activities.
He said the SRC attended an emergency meeting at around 3pm and the UB management took the decision to close down all the activities. “We were all in shock, it was a total inconvenience for everyone involved,” he said. “This ended tragically for everyone including the hawkers who lost everything,” he said. Kelebeng told The Monitor that the KBL stall that was supposed to sell alcohol was shut down and the Police also knocked down other stalls.
He said the whole incident brought down financial implications on them because the hawkers who had bought spaces from the SRC are contemplating lawsuit.
Goitsemang Ratsatsi, a hawker said they have taken a collective decision to sue the SRC on the basis of the contract. She said they were harassed and forced to move out by the Police and that clearly breached the contract they signed with the SRC. Ratsatsi said they demand a refund because they had to throw away all the food they cooked. “Our customers were chased away , the visitors left in a hurry and the event closed down prematurely so we suffered huge losses,” she said.
Meanwhile, the UB communications official was not immediately available for a comment on Friday as The Monitor visited the UB and made several phone calls for a comment.