Polytechnic infighting high on Murangi’s agenda

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Windhoek

The ongoing saga involving Polytechnic of Namibia vice-rector for academic affairs and research Dr Andrew Niikondo has formally reached the office of the higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi.

New Era last month reported on how the rift between the rector Dr Tjama Tjivikua and Niikondo reached boiling point, with Niikondo facing a disciplinary hearing as well as possible demotion to an ordinary lecturer for alleged incompetence.
Niikondo went as far as submitting a work-related grievance with the Polytechnic Council in which he accuses Tjivikua of victimising, harassing and discriminating him.

Kandjii-Murangi yesterday told New Era she was addressing the confrontation.
“That is an internal matter which is receiving the internal attention it deserves now that it has come to me. It was brought to me and I am addressing it. I will not discuss internal matters through the media,” the higher education, training and innovation minister said.

She refused to divulge what the Polytechnic Council has brought to her attention but confirmed that she met the council on Monday, although the Niikondo saga was not one of the discussion points.

Although she refused to reveal the date of her meeting with the Polytechnic Council, a council source said the meeting would take place during the course of this week.

During Monday’s meeting, council sources told New Era, Kandjii-Murangi enquired about wide-ranging operational issues of the soon-to-be University of Science and Technology. “The minister asked about the financial standing of the institution. She also wanted to know about the strategic plan. She was particularly interested to know how we conduct our research and whether our financial situation allows us to carry out the institution’s mandate,” said the source.The Namibian on Monday reported that the vice-chairperson of the Polytechnic of Namibia council, Silas-Kishi Shakumu, proposed that Tjivikua should be suspended, investigated and disciplined.
According to the report: “Shakumu says Tjivikua must face a disciplinary hearing on allegations of victimising fellow top officials.”

New Era understands that a number of the council members are in support of the proposed disciplinary action against the long-serving rector, who has been credited in some circles for steering the institution into a world-class tertiary institution.

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