Murder protests close university

March 24, 1995

The University of Botswana has been closed indefinitely following student protests at apparent government failure to investigate the ritual murder of a school student.

The minister of education, Gaositwe Chiepe, said the closure was caused by an "illegal demonstration staged by the students of the University of Botswana who caused unprovoked malicious damage to property and violently invaded the National Assembly while in session". The closure applied to all students and classes, but not to university staff who were instructed to "continue with their normal duties" by Thomas Tlou, vice chancellor.

The demonstration was a response by the university students to the disturbances in Mochudi which centred on protests arising from the death of a 14-year-old female student whose body was found dumped at a school last November with her genitals cut off. University students marched to the parliament building and demonstrators damaged vehicles and shops.

The Student Representative Council took the government to court seeking the re-opening of the university. But the government won its case, only to hand powers back to the university council and the vice chancellor, who decided that the university would reopen on March 8.

The government over-ruled the decision and decreed that the university should remain closed. Police have moved to arrest student leaders for their part in the illegal demonstration, and the government seems to want to keep the university closed to avoid further demonstrations and student-led strikes.

The crisis in Mochudi remains unresolved. Primary and secondary students have returned to school. The men who were arrested by the police in December, a month after the murder, were released the following day because of "insufficient evidence". In January "enraged school students" in Mochudi began attacking and burning the property of the businessmen who were allegedly guilty of the murder of their fellow student, prompting the official clampdown. Meanwhile no one has been arrested for the murder, and the authorities have turned to Britain and Scotland Yard for assistance in their investigation.

The students accused the police of using "heavy-handed tactics" and not treating the case as a ritual murder, designed to enhance the businesses of those suspected of having carried it out.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

Female Brazilian football/soccer fan celebrating with flag of Brazil, Best universities in Latin America

Brazil leads Times Higher Education’s debut ranking of the top universities in Latin America

Child drives miniature car into people

Smaller, newer alternative providers are less likely to pass higher education review, analysis says