The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) was represented at the Namibia Innovation Conference on Wednesday, despite earlier threatening to boycott the event, citing ethical and principled reasons.
The threat was contained in a letter availed to Nampa on Tuesday, in which NCRST Acting Chief Executive Officer, Enid Keramen, penned her frustration to Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Permanent Secretary, Dr Alfred Van Kent, over “insults endured at the hands of research director in the ministry, Dr Lisho Mundia”.
“For your information PS, this is not the first time that I and other officials of the NCRST have (had) to suffer and endure Dr Mundia’s condescending behaviour,” Keramen stated.
In the acting CEO’s eyes, it appears as though the research director is not well-versed with ethos of good corporate governance practices, as well as the role and mandate of the commission.
“I am stating this because when I mentioned the role of the NCRST (on 29 January 2019) to Dr Mundia, he became even more insulting, stating that Government could do whatever it likes, forgetting that State-Owned Enterprises are established for the express purpose to assist Government to execute its responsibilities to the citizenry of the country,” she wrote.
Keramen maintained that the research commission was eager to foster a good working relationship with its parent ministry, MHETI, but noted that behaviour such as Mundia’s threatens the building and maintaining of such a relationship.
On his part, Mundia on Wednesday flatly denied having ever insulted Keramen and vowed to take the matter up with his barristers.
“I have never (insulted her), not in any official meeting or unofficial interaction have I insulted Ms Keramen or any of her staff members,” Mundia told Nampa on the sidelines of the conference.
He said he operates in a strictly professional environment.
“This is a professional environment. In my professional environment we have respect for each other. So, the subject of derogatory language is serious disrespect towards myself, on my character. It’s a legal matter, as I am speaking to you, I have consulted my lawyers.”
Van Kent acknowledged receiving Keramen’s complaint, saying he would sit the two together to hear both sides of the story.
He noted that the letter was received on short notice and the proper communication channel was not followed as even the NCRST board was not aware of the matter.
Keramen was not at the conference as she is out of the country on official business.
I her letter, she also said “it did not sit well with the NCRST that the theme of the conference is ‘Forging a Namibian Consensus on Innovation’, yet a competent authority for research, science, technology and innovation in the country, the NCRST established by an Act of Parliament, is left out in such a consensus”.
The conference started on Wednesday and ends this Friday.