Tjivikua spills the beans

The former Nust vice-chancellor claims the institution will “slide into the abyss with no one standing ready to rescue the situation”.

17 May 2019 | Education

Former Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) vice-chancellor, Professor Tjama Tjivikua, has accused higher education Itah Kandjii-Murangi of gross interference in the running of the institution.

Tjivikua made this and a number of other accusations in a letter to current Nust council chairperson Esi Schimming-Chase, dated 1 March. He left Nust on 31 March.

Tjivikua, who is the founding vice-chancellor of the institution, also warned of the demise of the institution, saying the situation on the ground was deteriorating.

Tjivikua also claimed that certain staff members were unfairly siding with council members to enhance their own interests.

According to him, a direct link in the line of work between staff members and council members was undesirable and harmful to the university.

“We should be concerned about the minister's involvement and interference in the governance and management of the university. This has clearly happened in various forms since 2015. Similarly, we should also be concerned about the council and staff relations,” he said.

“It is a sure way of undermining the professionalism and authority of the council, as well as the CEO's authority and the management processes,” he added.

Tjivikua also accused council members of willingly dancing to Kandjii-Murangi's tune.

“Some have sided with staff members to the detriment of university management. A case in point is the matter of unresolved grievances and pending disciplinary hearings, whose delay was caused by the minster's directive to suspend all disciplinary actions against members associated to her during my extended tenure,” he said.

Kandjii-Murangi, Tjivikua claimed, had also gone beyond her call of duty to protect staff members that were related to her.

“In a similar way, the council should be concerned about the minister's direct links to staff members. She has issued directives, ultra vires, to the chairperson and the VC [Tjivikua at the time], to blatantly protect or shield certain staff members and promote her relatives' interests,” he said.

Kandjii-Murangi's actions, he said, corroded the trust amongst roleplayers involved with the institution and empowered certain staff members to act with impunity.

“Thus non-performing and delinquent staff members have formed a lobby group enjoying the minister's support. They are now poised to take over the university and purge it of those seen associated to me,” he said.

Tjivikua said that Nust would “slide into abyss with no one standing ready to rescue the situation”, as a result of Kandjii-Murangi's and certain council members' actions.

Kandjii-Murangi did not respond when called and sent text messages.

Schimming-Chase confirmed the authenticity of the letter and said she would attend to the concerns raised.

A well-placed source claimed there was a deliberate attempt to get rid of Tjivikua, in part because of a planned disciplinary action against the institution's spokesperson, Kaitira Kandjii who is related to the minister.

The source further alleged there was gross interference in the running of Nust, as alleged by Tjivikua in his letter, and called the situation a difficult matter.

A council member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed it was in the institution's best interests to end Tjivikua's tenure as vice-chancellor.

“Remember that Nust comes from a very complex history and even the previous council was removed, wholesale. It is a very delicate balancing act to make that institution work, but it is not going to be very easy,” the source said.

“The place was really marred by an over-the-top type of Machiavellian ruler... too many things to fix and too many interests to unhinge.”


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