Community members of Kasika in the Ngoma circuit of the Zambezi region have rejected the principal who was chosen to lead a local school.
They allege the appointment was “unfair and unjust”.
In several letters seen by New Era, addressed to the regional education director, the chief regional officer and the governor’s office, the community allege that the education directorate in the region appointed a candidate who came third in the interviews for the Kasika Combined School.
The interviews were conducted in December 2018. Winnie Mwazi was reportedly recommended for the position ahead of then caretaker Martin Maiba.
In one of the letters, they allege that interview minutes were manipulated by the directorate as they have it on good authority that Maiba, who did well in the interview and was recommended by the panel, and had been acting in the position for more than two years, was sidelined to favour Mwazi due to affirmative action.
“We are not in favour of the appointment because 30 years after independence, a Namibian citizen who developed and changed our school is disadvantaged on the basis of gender because the circuit is dominated by males,” the community stated.
“The regional office cannot rectify the problem it created in the Ngoma circuit by having recruited too many males at the expense of our school.
“We won’t accept an appointment on gender/affirmative action basis at our school”, they charged. Zambezi acting education director Josty Kawana dismissed allegations that his office manipulated the results of the interviews.
“One of their concerns is that we manipulated the situation. We never did that. There is nothing that we changed. We did not change the minutes, the minutes went as they were. I think they have also challenged that with the Office of the Ombudsman, and we gave the ombudsman all the documents that indicate how the process was done,” said Kawana.
The acting director also accused some of the panel members and school board members of misinforming the community by assuring them that the said male candidate had received the job.
“After interviews, the school board and some members who were part of the panel divulged information to the community
that ‘we are done, and the person who is coming in is this one’, which puts me in a difficult position because we are not the ones who make the final decision.
We just start the process,” explained Kawana.
He also revealed that after the principal was appointed in October last year, he personally led the delegation to the school to introduce the new headmaster.
However, things turned sour as they found community members waiting for them, who rejected the principal and threatened her safety should she agree to stay on at the school. He further explained that after they could not reach an agreement with the community, the principal was attached to the circuit office, where she still is at the moment. Kawana stated that the matter was reported to the executive director’s office, who advised the directorate to explain what happened to the community.
However, the situation remains unresolved until today, and the school has been without a principal for over seven months. Kawana lamented the fact that this has had a negative impact on the school due to a lack of supervision as the school doesn’t even have a head of department, as it doesn’t qualify to have one. He furthermore appealed to community members to bury the hatchet, and accept the principal who was appointed to the school.
“This is not going to take us anywhere. The children have suffered for over seven months. We should now sit down and think of the welfare of those teachers and learners who are there, and allow the appointed principal to resume her duties,” appealed Kawana. Meanwhile, Maiba declined to comment when approached.
He, however, let slip that he was informed by the school board that he was the wanted candidate. “I don’t want to be involved in the matter. I have already left the school, and I am no longer there,” he said briefly. Mwazi could not be reached for comment.