Windhoek - The Tertiary Institute Sports Association of Namibia (TISAN) is in limbo as the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) races against time to resuscitate the organisation following a decision to dissolve the elected executive committee.
Following the death of long-serving president Werner Jeffery, a new executive committee was elected on 14 May 2022 in Otjiwarongo to revive TISAN, as well as ensure that institutions of higher learning participating in regional, continental and global sporting competitions.
However, the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) appealed against the respondents. NUST asked for a ruling to “set aside outcomes of the TISAN special congress held in Otjiwarongo, and requested TISAN to reschedule a special elective congress within 60 days after the ruling and following the TISAN constitution”.
Among the anomalies mentioned by NUST, the nomination was not done as per the constitution, the affiliates were not given the required time to nominate their candidates and there was no proof of an annual general meeting which ratified the acceptance of the memberships of all Unam campuses.
The NUST appeal also states that some members who voted in 2022 were not in good standing, while the TISAN constitution is clear on voting rights.
NUST further requested that Unam’s voting rights be restored as it was before the 2015 annual general meeting, and specifically, that the institution be afforded one vote until such a time that the membership issue is resolved at the next annual general meeting of the association.
Sources privy to the issue pointed a finger at NUST employee Donovan Zealand, who they said led the NUST appeal because he harboured ambitions to be TISAN president.
Zealand denies this.
“I certainly have no ambition to run for TISAN president but I will also not allow certain institutions and individuals to contravene the constitution of TISAN. One should ask who was running the institution for the past 10 years. During this period, they hardly had a single AGM. This kind of administration cannot continue. We need to do things right,” he said.
He further said the 11 extra members of Unam were never accepted by an AGM of TISAN nor were there any applications by the satellite campuses.
He also said whoever takes over TISAN should institute a forensic investigation to show how the finances were used.
“They should show us where these satellite campuses applied and during which congress were these campuses accepted. There is no accountability from those who have been running TISAN since 2012. They cannot distinguish between membership and participation,” he explained.
Zealand is also part of the three-member NSC appeals committee chaired by Stephanie Elago.
The other member is Marius Kudumo, an Unam employee.
The first judgement sent out by the appeals committee had Zealand’s signature.
“Zealand recused himself from the hearing after NUST launched an appeal. He was never part of the decision. The signature on that judgement was just a mistake from the office. It was never supposed to be there,” Elago explained to New Era.
Following a hearing by the NSC appeals committee on 9 July and 10 August 2022, with the judgement delivered on 9 November 2022, TISAN was ordered to reschedule the elections within 60 days “as per the TISAN constitution” while the voting rights of Unam should be reduced from 12 to one as it was before 2015”.
Before 2015, Unam only had one vote.
Following the establishment of 11 satellite campuses by Unam, their votes rose to 12, as these satellite campuses paid affiliation fees and participated individually.
An AGM held in October 2015 discussed the amendment of the constitution to sort out the issue of Unam satellite campuses’ affiliation, but that was never done, leaving a constitutional loophole, which Unam exploited.
However, this puts Unam at an advantage when it comes to voting as any Unam candidate is assured of 12 votes out of 24.
Kudumo yesterday said TISAN shot itself in the foot by not addressing the constitutional issues before the 2022 elections, which then rendered the AGM null and void.
“The constitution is flawed in terms of it making it clear on voting rights and participation rights. They established a committee to look at that issue, but that committee did not conclude its work. For example, are the colleges under Unam legal entities or are they part of Unam? Do the collages that belong to Unam have their own act or are they part of Unam? The merger means you become one,” Kudumo explained.
Contacted for comment, NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya said their hands are tied when it comes to TISAN as they can only be observers.
“We were told that we cannot interfere or take over the running of the institution. Currently, there is an interim executive that should organise an AGM and run elections for new leadership. I cannot even comment about the judgement given by the appeals committee at the moment,” Mwiya said.
The chairperson of the appeals committee Elago was adamant that the judgement was fair.
She told this reporter that if anyone is affected by the judgement, they have the right to go to the High Court and seek relief, as the current Sports Act does not allow the affected parties to seek relief from the NSC or the ministry of sports.
Contacted for comment, Zealand said he recused himself from the appeal which was initiated by NUST.
Zealand said he resigned as secretary general of TISAN 2012 and left everything in order, since then everything has gone downhill.
Unam’s Allan Nghixulifwa, who was voted as TISAN president said as far as he is concerned, they followed the constitution to the tee and do not understand why NUST appealed.
“Let us follow the constitution as is, not a suggestion. If we have to change the constitution, let us do it through a fully constituted AGM. I only want to work; the students are suffering because of external politics. If we need to work on the constitution now, let’s do it,” Nghixulifwa said.
A member of the interim committee Ervin Katjetako, confirmed to New Era Sports that they are organising logistics for the AGM and elections of the new office bearer as per judgement.
Caption: Not proper… Members of the dissolved TISAN executive committee who were allegedly unconstitutionally elected in 2022 in Otjiwarongo.