Public lecture to help fill top Unam position

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John Haufiku (Dont use it again)

Windhoek

The University of Namibia (Unam) will hold a public lecture today for possible candidates to make presentations on why they think they qualify to occupy the position of pro-vice-chancellor for administration and finance.

The position was made vacant when the then suspended incumbent Boniface Mutumba resigned in April this year.

Mutumba’s suspension was motivated by his arrest by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in June last year for allegedly contravening the Anti-Corruption Act – by allegedly abusing his office together with former colleague Ruben Prinz.

Unam spokesperson John Haufiku yesterday confirmed the public lecture in search of the best candidate.

New Era was reliably informed that among the contesting candidates is the university’s director for communications and marketing, Edwin Tjiramba, as well as its chief librarian, Ellen Namhila. The number of candidates to participate has not been verified.

“Each candidate is interviewed. After that they come to the auditorium where they’ll give presentations on how they intend to transform the university in that position. Students, lecturers and people from outside then ask them questions, and they will be rated in search of the best candidate,” explained Haufiku.

Unlike many institutions where applicants are assessed behind closed doors, Unam’s interview process for top jobs, such as pro-vice-chancellor and registrar, takes place in a totally transparent manner through public lectures.

Haufiku explained that the pro-vice-chancellor position is of “imponderable value” to the university, like other similar positions, such that the public presentation by each shortlisted candidate is made in the form of a public lecture to an audience of both students and staff, principally outlining the changes they would bring to Unam.

“This tradition is deeply rooted in the University of Namibia’s value system, which is founded on transparency, mutual respect, professionalism and integrity. Since the position is highly sought after, the public presentation is a means by which to demonstrate the practice of transparency. We think that when staff and students play a role in appointing their own leader, it adds tremendously to the integrity of the process and improves ownership and professionalism at this grand public institution,” he noted.

Furthermore, Haufiku said a special committee of the university council prepared the conditions of appointment and will oversee the whole process.

He said that this year a master’s degree is a pre-requisite, whereas a higher qualification would be an added advantage.

In April Mutumba resigned without any conditions attached and did so with immediate effect. Haufiku said his resignation effectively concluded all internal disciplinary procedures pending against him.

Former registrar Alois Fledersbacher acted in Mutumba’s position until his (Fledersbacher’s) term ended on June 31. Fledersbacher has since been replaced by Dr Sisiso Nyathi as the new registrar.

The pro-vice-chancellor for academic affairs and research, Professor Osmund Mwandemele, is now the acting pro-vice-chancellor for administration and finance until the university makes a substantive appointment.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that Mutumba, a member of the university’s tender board, was involved in awarding a N$16 million tender for the construction of hostel facilities at the university’s Neudamm campus to an undeserving company.

It was also reported that Unam’s vice-chancellor Lazarus Hangula had initiated the ACC investigation of the tender process, after discovering some irregularities.

Co-accused Prinz, at the instruction of Mutumba, allegedly left out certain details regarding the company he recommended to the tender board, thus providing incorrect information during his motivation.

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