WINDHOEK – The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) chancellor Peter Katjavivi has spoken out against the internal chaos and infighting that has rocked the university’s top echelons.
According to Katjavivi, a university rocked by infighting and internal administrative problems cannot focus and contribute meaningfully towards national challenges beyond its shortcomings.
“It is for this reason that there is a need to ensure our university continues to function on the basis of its rules and procedures as provided for in the Act of parliament that established NUST,” Katjavivi said when he addressed the university staff yesterday.
Of late, NUST experienced endless infighting and
irregularities over the advertising and appointing of a vice
chancellor (VC) to replace Tjama Tjivikua who left last year.
Tjivikua terminated his services and dropped a bombshell with accusations of factionalism threatening to rip the university apart.
In his resignation letter dated 1 March 2019 and addressed to the former chairperson of the NUST council Esi Schimming-Chase, higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi was accused of interference.
Subsequently, Schimming-Chase also resigned in June last year, after she wrote a letter to Kandjii-Murangi expressing her disappointment because of the minister’s alleged continued interference in the university’s affairs.
Katjavivi cautioned that the university’s autonomous environment should ensure minimal external interference if the institution is to be managed professionally. “You can only do this if the university’s structures are not weakened but if they are, then it calls for external solutions to the university’s internal challenges. This usually breeds disharmony and a downward spiral movement for the institution. Therefore, this is a no-go area for any great institution like NUST,” he said.
Kandjii-Murangi in November inaugurated the new NUST external council members, whom she directed to kick off the process of appointing the vice chancellor with immediate effect.
In this regard, acting Vice Chancellor Morné Du Toit yesterday confirmed the new council took over the recruitment process in November.
“It is a topic that has dragged on for a long time. Last week, the search joint committee met again and an advertisement of the position was approved. The advert will go out this week. The closing date will be end of February. We hope the process will be concluded soon and I am hopeful we will conclude the process swiftly to have a VC,” Du Toit remarked.
On strengthening the university’s research capacity, Katjavivi said if NUST wants to be counted among the top universities, particularly in addressing the challenges confronting the nation, it should deepen the research and publication capacity.
According to him, this is especially significant now that the United Nations family has clearly outlined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that every member country, including Namibia, has committed itself to.
Furthermore, as a member of the African Union and the Pan-African Parliament, he says Namibia is committed to the realisation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Katjavivi said parliament will be embarking on a journey of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of SDGs, as well as AU Agenda 2063.
“In this regard, we are looking towards partnering with tertiary institutions in the country to undertake deeper research in these aspects. Very soon, we shall be knocking on the door of the vice chancellor to lend us some committed research intern students if resources permit,” he revealed.
Further, he noted since NUST is the country’s main university of science and technology, this caption should talk to the industrialisation of the country, adding NUST can only achieve this dream through innovation.
No-go area… NUST chancellor Peter Katjavivi.