Thursday 17 June 2021
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Tjivikua tipped for NCRST job

Higher Education Minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi has allegedly hand-picked former vice chancellor of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) professor Tjama Tjivikua as chief executive officer of the National Commission on Research and Technology (NCRST).
The Patriot understands that last year the board of NCRST recommended Tjivikua’s brother, Dr Michael Tjivikua to Kandjii-Murangi, to be appointed as the commission’s chief executive officer. The minister has however, ignored the board’s recommendations.
Sources close to Tjivikua’s imminent appointment said that the former vice chancellor is the minister’s blue eyed boy.
This gives credence to claims that Kandjii-Murangi, who wanted Tjivikua gone before March this year, wanted that in order to facilitate his appointment as NCRST chief executive officer.
Queried as to why she preferred Tjama instead of his brother, the minister denied the allegations saying, “not true. After all there is a board of commissioners to oversee the affairs of NCRST.”
However, The Patriot in February reported that the  National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) concluded the recruitment process and have recommended Dr Michael Tjivikua to the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi as the preferred candidate. Numerous attempts by The Patriot to get hold of Tjama Tjivikua proved futile as he did not answer calls or text messages forwarded to his mobile phone.
In recent times, NCRST has been hit by mass resignations after workers resigned due to job security fears.
There have also been complaints about low wages, unattractive job conditions, insufficient funds for research programs, a lack of coordination among different research organisations, insufficient links with industry and a sense that the government has put research and innovation activities at the bottom of the list of priorities in a general budget squeeze.
One of the more prominent resignations was that of former CEO Dr. Eino Mvula who left the commission in May 2017, preceding a host of his subordinates who followed in his footsteps.
General Manager: Research, Science, Technology and Innovation Coordination & Support Dr. Diina Shuuluka who was the second-in-charge at NCRST is part of the group that has jumped ship.
The mass exits have led to the silencing of the commission’s communications team.
Head: Corporate Communication and Marketing Ockert Jansen and his assistant Iyaloo Kandjabanga have both left the commission.
Quality Assurance Officer Helena Shindadhi, Maria Andimba (acting Head: Legal Advise & Company Secretariat) and Albanus Sindano (Programs Officer) have all left the commission.
Namibia is amongst the 30 lowest spenders on research and development in the world.
The commission had complained that the N$11 million budget allocation from government is not enough.
The African Union has set a target of 1% of GDP invested on research and development, but data available to the UIS shows that only three sub-Saharan African countries are close to this target: South Africa, Kenya and Senegal (around 0.8% in all three countries).
According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, Namibia research and development spending as a percentage of GDP stands at a meagre 0.3%.
When it comes to human resources, Namibia has 143 researchers per million inhabitants.
At a protest last year, staff members pleaded with the line ministry to appoint a competent Chief Executive Officer urgently.
“We demand that the current Acting CEO Ms Enid Keramen must be removed. Under her leadership, everything is collapsing due to poor leadership, they said. Acting Chief Executive Officer Keramen in February threatened legal action against her employer after she was overlooked for the Chief Executive Officer’s position in which she had been acting for 18 months.

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