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Kandjii-Murangi dragged over Nust S& confirms payment

2023-07-07  Edward Mumbuu

Kandjii-Murangi dragged over Nust S& confirms payment

 Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi’s past few weeks in office have been a stern examination of her wits. The latest accusation against the minister is that she received subsistence and travel allowances (S&T) for a fully-paid trip from the embattled Namibia University of Science and Technology. 

There has been the unceremonious departure of the Nust council, which left under a cloud of controversy; coupled with reports that the minister received upkeep allowances from the same university whilst abroad. 

There is also a pending investigation into a myriad of allegations at Nust, ranging from nepotism, corruption and abuse of power against the management. 

The former Nust council left this responsibility to the incoming one. 

As if this is not enough, Kandj i i - Murangi stands accused of flouting procedures when she appointed the current Namibia Training Authority (NTA) board. 

The NTA has been without a substantive CEO for almost five years now. 

Meanwhile, another parastatal under Kandjii-Murangi’s watch battling its own troubles is the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund and its two CEOs, an acting and a suspended one. 

Until the appointment of Anicia Peters this year, the National Commission for Research, Science and Technology, also falling under her, had been without a substantive CEO. 

On the vacuum left by the former Nust council, Kandjii-Murangi said: “I am currently seized with the matter. I am studying the exit report [by the Nust council]. By Monday, I should’ve appointed a new board.” 

New Era is reliably informed she will visit Nust today to meet the university’s management in its entirety. 


Kandjii-Murangi’s critics accuse her of politicising and mismanaging Namibia’s higher education sector. 

“Our analysis indicates that both vice chancellors of the University of Namibia and Nust, namely professor Kenneth Matengu (Unam) and professor Erold Naomab (Nust) belong to the so-called Swapo Party Think Tank… Is the historic bloc and Unam and Nust captured by political party interest, leading them into becoming ineffective and unable to perform their duties satisfactorily?”, Landless People’s Movement lawmaker Henny Seibeb put to Kandjii-Murangi in parliament this week. 

The situation, he said, is eroding academic freedom at the country’s two public universities. 

Chief among those attacking her is Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader Job Amupanda, who was once again this week proven to be a thorn in Kandjii-Murangi’s flesh. 

Amupanda is a Unam lecturer. 

He lifted the lid on a payment Nust made into Kandjii-Murangi’s personal account as S&T.

When contacted yesterday, the minister did not entertain Amupanda’s assertions. 

He also alleges that Kandjii-Murangi has received preferential treatment from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), despite defaulting on her loan obligations. 

“I am just a client. I cannot comment on that. That’s false. No comment,” Kandjii- Murangi stated. 

Efforts to get comment from DBN yesterday were fruitless as its spokesperson Jerome Mutumba’s phone went unanswered. 

According to Amupanda, the amount of over N$140 000 was paid to the minister by Nust. 

Pocket money 

Amupanda not only questioned the capacity in which the minister was paid by the university which reports to her. He also wondered why the minister was given the money, despite being on a “fully-paid trip”. 

According to Amupanda, Kandjii- Murangi’s hands are tied, and she is compromised to take any action against Nust’s management. 

“She is captured. That is why she can’t do anything… I laugh at journalists and the public who expect the minister to intervene in the Nust leadership crisis when it’s the same people bankrolling her,” Amupanda said. 


Yesterday, Nust, through its spokesperson John Haufiku, confirmed the payment. 

Narrating events preceding the transaction, he said the university received a letter from higher education's executive director Alfred van Kent on 5 July 2022, requesting Nust to foot Kandjii-Murangi’s S&T for “an official higher education trip to Korea, amounting to N$140 634.20. 

“The ministry was not able to virement the required resources on a timely basis to cover the honourable minister’s travel, and therefore appealed to the institution [Nust] to pay the allowance, promising to repay the funds once the ministry was able to do so,” Haufiku narrated. 

This paper has also seen the request, which was for six days - 3 to 9 July 2022 

“Kandjii-Murangi was invited by the International Youth Fellowship to attend the 10th Minister of Education and Youth World Forum in Busan, Korea,” Van Kent wrote to Naomab. 

The forum discussed the introduction of university training programmes through which “students could be better-prepared for the challenge of life.” 

Nust bowed to Van Kent’s appeal. 

“The request was approved by management, and the full amount was repaid on 3 February 2023,” Haufiku said. 

The spokesperson also provided documents to substantiate his claims, which New Era has seen. 

“For purposes of transparency, I am sharing all information related to this… there is confidential information in here which you should not circulate, but is being shared so as to support where these funds went and where they came back,” Haufiku cautioned. 

He hastened to say the payment in question was not made by Naomab as he was “out of office during this transaction, and the rest of the seated management handled this transaction”. 

“I am not able to provide you this proof under the timeframe you have given us of 15h00, but it can be produced. So, it is untrue that the vice chancellor made this payment,” Haufiku added. 

He, however, pointed out that the transaction between Nust and Kandjii- Murangi was not peculiar. 

“There is nothing unusual about this transaction. It was a government entity in the same ministry helping the government office that funds it to conduct higher education affairs,” he emphasised. 

2023-07-07  Edward Mumbuu

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