By Eliaser Ndeyanale
Three months after former vice chancellor of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Dr Tjama Tjivikua went on retirement, the university continues to pay him his monthly salary.
Tjivikua who left NUST on 31 March wrote a letter on 01 March this year to the chairperson of the university council Esi Schimming-Chase, in which he confirmed that “ I agreed to the termination of my service at the end of this month with full remuneration till the end of June.” Asked how much Tjivikua earned, the NUST registrar, Maurice Garde said that he was not at liberty to disclose how much the former vice chancellor earns saying that it is in line with the scale of the State owned enterprises.
However, The Patriot is reliably informed that Tjivikua earned an annual salary of N$2.3 million or N$192 000 per month.
Several attempts to get hold of Tjivikua were fruitless as he did not answer his mobile phone.
In the same letter, Tjivikua accuses the minister of higher education Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi saying she was interfering in the management of the university by among other giving orders to promote her relatives’ interest.
He said that the council should be concerned about the minister’s involvement and interference in the governance and management of the university. “This is interference in the institution’s autonomy and demarcation of responsibilities.
“These acts have corroded the trust amongst the key role players (minister, council and vice-chancellor) and have empowered or encouraged 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 with or associated to me. “Even students are on notice to carry out certain instructions or be dealt with upon my departure. This is the reality in the ground today and I herewith raise the alarm,” he wrote.
He added that the culture of non-performance and impunity, being advanced by various interferences, has resulted in the wasteful expenditure of resources.
This, according to Tjivikua has sown a very bad atmosphere in the university, with the consequence of detrimental, demoralising and pernicious effects on all other university staff.
“Already this practice has promoted mediocrity and has caused the university to lose some of its top performers recently. Finally, the university’s reputation must be protected at any cost from the ongoing onslaught”
He advised Schimming-Chase that the succession and transfer of responsibilities to the next vice-chancellor must be done in a highly professional, speedy and smooth way to avoid compromising the gains of the past year.
“We should, therefore worried about the proposed transitional arrangement… and entrusting executives who are not ready or suitable to lead a university at this critical time, perhaps with the exception of one. The impending danger is clear for all to see and the longer it takes to fill the position with a substantive competent vice-chancellor, the bigger the damage,” he stated.
Tjivikua added that for Namibia to achieve global competitiveness, its universities must be free from politics and personal whims detrimental to the whole.
He further wrote that universities must be leaders in what they do best – developing capacity and systems that will build the economy and society.
“I have been very optimistic about the future of the university. But recently my hope has been dampened by the conduct of the minister and some council members and the consequential malfunction and non-performance. The fast and long slide into the abyss has started unless it is arrest immediately,” he said. Contacted for comment Kandjii-Murangi said she had not seen the letter as she was out of the country.
“There is nothing that I am doing that is untoward. Really I don’t know when the letter was written and I don’t know its content. Whatever is said there is nothing untoward that I am doing.
I don’t run that institution on the day to day basis, I don’t and I have never done that. Tjama has now left and he thought that I am doing that (interference) and I am not surprised about that. How on earth are you on your way out, but you pull this one and that one in the process of disciplinary hearing? Is that right?
I had meetings with council and management because the staff members were coming to me to say that they are really feeling the hard-handedness of the outgoing vice chancellor with regards to this. I was not shielding anybody I wanted that institution to be at stable so that whoever is coming, they will start with an institution that is stable. We know where we come from. The previous council had problems at the institution with him as vice-chancellor.
Council stabilised the organisation and now again, he wants to create controversy. No, it can’t be. He can say anything but really, it’s high time that we stabilize our institutions,” she said.