LeaderBoard

NUST council booted out

26 November 2015 Author   Roadwin Chirara

front  27 nov Sydney  novemberMinister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Itah Murangi-Kandjii has informed members of The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Council that their term of office will come to an end this month.

 

The letter from Murangi-Kandjii cames just a day after the Gazetting of the Namibia University of Science and Technology Act on 16 November.

The Minister is reported to be irked by the continued bickering between Tjivikua and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Andrew Niikondo and divisions in the institution’s Council.

Sources said this week that the Gazetting of the new Act gave the minister an opportunity to fire the Council appointed by former Minister David Namwandi.

The decision to dismiss the institution’s Council also comes after Councilors had written a damning letter to the minister on 4 September citing a number of challenges facing NUST.

In the letter, which was also copied to the Office of the Prime Minister and President, Council members said the university’s Council had been rendered dysfunctional by the actions of the Vice Chancellor Tjama Tjivikua and Chairperson of the Council, Evelyn Breuer.

In the letter to Murangi-Kandjii, which the Windhoek Observer has seen, the institutions council members threatened to sue Tjivikua and Breuer, citing their disregard of the rules that govern the operations of the institution.

“This letter not only serves the purpose of updating you on the status of the Council but also conveys to you our intention to take legal action against the duo in order to compel them to comply with the provision of the Act and restore the Council in full control of the institution,” Council Vice Chairperson Silas Kishi Shakumu wrote on behalf of the Council.

Breuer is accused in the 29 page document of protecting Tjivikua, which resulted in the Council not sitting since August.

Councillors intended, among other things, to discuss at the meetings calls by the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate Tjivikua over allegations of corruption.

 “For the past few months, the Council has been rendered “redundant” or “dysfunctional” by those who stand to benefit from an alleged dysfunctional Council. The dysfunctionality of the Council is not a reality but a fiction engineered to justify the total disregard of the Council for the benefit of a few men and women hungry to govern in isolation,” Shakumu wrote.

“We are also aware of claims that some colleagues are hopeful that once the new Act is passed. Those of us who dared challenge the status quo will be replaced. We have also communicated these sentiments to you, Hon Minister.”

Shakumu disowned a report furnished to the ACC, said to be the position of the institution regarding corruption claims against Tjivikua.

“A reply was provided to the ACC to the exclusion of other Council members. Up to this day we are not privy to the contents of the reply and how the conclusion was reached. Our efforts to access this information has proved fruitless,” he said.

Shakumu noted that the Council had failed in its efforts to pass a vote of no confidence in Breuer on two occasions.

“Our chairperson has misdirected herself in many respects and owes her loyalty to the Rector (now Vice Chancellor) instead of the Council. It is in that light that we view her as incompetent and unfit for the position she holds. In the absence of a formal Council meeting, we are unable to replace her. The absence of Council meetings is without doubt a favourable condition for the “rule by the Chairperson and rector.”

Shakumu refused to comment when contacted over the contents of the letter.

“It’s a confidential letter and I cannot comment on something that is confidential,” he said.

Efforts to contact the Higher Education Minister were unfruitful as her phone went unanswered. Some insiders have blamed the current problems in the institution’s Council to members’ loyalty to former Education minister David Namwandi.

The acrimony between Tjivikua and Niikondo has even seen the Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila intervening by summoning the institution’s Council.

The Council consists of Evelyn Breuer as Chairperson, Tjivikua, Niikondo, Gert Günzel, Erastus Ikela, Meriam Kahitu, Florence Zitha Munyungano, Katrina Liswani, Joshua Amukugo, Loide Shaanika, Brian de Lacy Figaji and Rebecca Iyambo.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

Contact Us

Windhoek Observer House
c/o John Meinert & Rossini Street
Windhoek West
Namibia
Tel: +264 61 411 800
Fax: +264 61 226 098
www.observer.com.na