Students at the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) have refuted allegations of incompetence levelled against the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research, Dr Andrew Niikondo, arguing that he has helped the institution to maintain its position of being the best tertiary institution in Namibia.
Niikondo has in recent weeks been under siege following a performance review by PoN strongman Professor Tjama Tjivikua, who accuses the former PLAN fighter of incompetence.
But in a move that could greatly boost Niikondo’s morale, the PoN’s SRC president, Oscar Mwandingi, said the learners have seen nothing wrong with Niikondo, as he has achieved his role in ensuring best quality programmes.
“He had ensured that the course content is up to date and reflecting on the development of the realm of education and the needs of the industry both locally and internationally. Even the desired outcome of his hard work together with his team is broadly reflecting in our success, studies and life after the Polytechnic. Since he joined the Polytechnic, it has maintained its position of being the best tertiary institution in Namibia,” said Mwandingi in support of Niikondo.
“We want to set the record straight that the SRC disapproves the non-performance accusation imposed on the Vice Rector, we see this as a strategy to achieve autocratic governance style and an approach to maintain sovereignty, as the Polytechnic Rector Tjama Tjivikua refused to explain the non-performance allegations towards the Vice Rector,” added Mwandingi.
He further stated that the non-performance allegations should be levelled against those that have failed to source adequate funding for the institution hence the students are forced to pay exorbitant fees.
“Those that failed to plan for the taxi rank for 20 years, those that failed to acquire space to build students accommodation facilities, recreational centres and sports facilities are the ones to be dealt with instead of trying to get rid of someone bringing development,” stressed Mwandingi.
Further, he cautioned that individuals heading government organisations must remember that those organisations are established with as specific role to play in the economy and should not be used to achieve trivial personal goals and self-serving agendas.
The dispute between Tjivikua and Niikondo comes after Niikondo last year received a performance bonus and a salary increment only to be told later that his performance was below average and that he was incompetent. This prompted Niikondo to submit a grievance letter to the PoN council objecting the claims.
Niikondo further faces demotion to an ordinary lecturer and his position will be split into two new positions for vice-rector: academic affairs, and vice-rector: research, innovation and advancement, in addition to the already existing vice-rector academic and finance.