By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
University of Namibia (Unam) lecturers, Usutuaije Maamberua and Dr Tangeni Iijambo, have been found guilty on all four counts as charged and are to be given a final written warning.
A hearing committee in the matter that started yesterday under the chairpersonship of Dr Louisa Mostert has decided that the two should be given a final written warning. Maamberua confirmed that they have indeed been found guilty and indicated their resolve to appeal the decision. He said once they receive the committee’s guilty verdict and the final written warning from Unam’s authority, they would then consult their legal representative, Jan Wessels, of Stern and Barnard, to possibly challenge the matter before the High Court.
Wessels’ bid to have the hearing committee dissolved for suspected partiality of some of its members given their positions within Unam, and their involvement in the preliminaries leading to the hearing, and to have a new independent committee, did not appeal to the rationale of the committee.
Wessels submitted in defence of the two lecturers’ case that Professor Nico Horn, the complainant in the matter, made a public statement in The Namibian on March 14, 2008 in which he expressed the university’s stance on the matter, signing as Dean of Faculty of Law of Unam. It was thus doubtful whether he would not unduly influence members of the hearing committee.
With regard to Professor Manfred Hinz, another member of the hearing committee, Wessels submitted that Maamberua was already at loggerheads with Hinz on the Ovaherero reparations matter and that he also had already complained against Hinz to the former Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Geoffrey Kiangi, regarding his dissertation proposal. Because of Hinz, Maamberua is also said to have been removed from a World Trade Organisation training programme. All these cast doubt on whether Hinz would be an impartial member of the hearing.
Despite being Unam’s director of human resources, tasked with the implementation of its policies whether he agreed with them or not, Reggie Izaks, was also instrumental in the investigation and compilation of charges against the two lecturers.
Maamberua and Iijambo, president and secretary general of the South West Africa National Union, Swanu of Namibia, respectively have been disciplined for contravening the university policy that bars its staff members from being actively involved in politics, including holding leadership positions.
They both faced four charges, two for breach of Unam policy and the other two for insubordination.
Both breaches of policy charges relate to Article C.3.1.13 for delivering public addresses on or about April 6, 2008 at Ongwediva, to further the interests of the political party, Swanu and for having accepted the position of president and secretary general of Swanu for Maamberua and Iijambo respectively in October/November.
In the third charge, they are both accused of insubordination for failing, since November 14 last year, to comply with the instructions of the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research, Professor Osmund Mwandemele, directing that they comply with the Unam policy on participation in politics.
Similarly, they are accused of insubordination for failing since January 16 to comply with the instructions of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lazarus Hangula, directing that they comply with the same policy.