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Council member to push for no-confidence vote on Siverts

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — A National University of Lesotho (NUL) council member, Mohau Ntlama, says he will push for a motion of no-confidence against Vice-Chancellor Professor Sharon Siverts at “the earliest meeting of the council”. Ntlama, a former executive committee member of the university’s Non-Academic Workers Union (NAWU), has written to NUL Registrar, Dr Tumelo Tsikoane, asking him to put the motion of no-confidence on the agenda of the next council meeting.

NAWU, together with its sister union, the Lesotho University Teachers and Researchers Union (Lutaru), have been a thorn in Siverts’ flesh since her appointment in 2011. The two unions have been locked in a fierce battle with Siverts over the direction the university is taking. They are also opposed to Siverts’ controversial restructuring programme. In his letter dated July 14, 2013 Ntlama says his call to pass a vote of no confidence in Siverts was because of the vice-chancellor’s financial maladministration and mismanagement.

He also accused Siverts of promoting anarchy and sowing divisions within NUL structures in clear violation of the NUL Act, its statutes and ordinances. All these had brought the university into disrepute, Ntlama said. He also accuses Siverts of derelection of duty and violating her contractual obligations, lack of focus regarding the vision and mission of NUL and the “core business of the university which is teaching, learning and research”.

Ntlama says Siverts has polarised “council members into two zones” of external and internal members who do not see eye-to-eye thus deminishing the value of the university. “I am therefore urgently requesting your good office to include my motion of no confidence against Professor Sharon Siverts on the agenda items for the next earliest council meeting,” reads part of Ntlama’s letter. “As a member of council, I have been observing the affairs of the university closely, chaos and incidences of instability taking place at the National University of Lesotho are a matter of great concern to me,” he said.

“There are no indications or visible efforts to amass brains or minds of council members to solve problems which dominate the media, rightly or wrongly.” Ntlama says everybody at NUL, including staff and learners, are helplessly looking on while some officers of the university are “holding secret meetings with certain cabals purporting to have political power or influence”. “Even over this mere (sic) weekend we have been closely monitoring the secret meetings in dark corners that are intended to course (sic) NUL to be dysfunctional and in total state of paralysis to justify the hidden agenda,” he said.

“I don’t understand why NUL problems should be clouded (sic) by cheap party politics and by power mongers within the university council and by some senior officers of the National University of Lesotho.”
He said “this clearly indicates that NUL is encroached by parasites”. “It’s an absurd, lopsided and collapse minded (sic) thinking of this cronies or cabal”.

’Ntlama complained that the out-going 11th Council which was led by Dr ‘Molotsi Monyamane had failed to resolve most of the issues which had led to institutional paralysis. He said the council had dismally failed to guide the council properly and legally. “NUL must be a centre and powerhouse for freedom of expression and co-operate governance (sic),” he said.

Four days after Ntlama’s letter, Siverts held a press conference where she said “it appears that these internal members of council want chaos; for whatever reasons, they want to render the university dysfunctional”. Ntlama is an internal member of the NUL council. External council members are non-NUL employees who are appointed because of various skills they have. Dr Monyamane is one of such members.

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