WINDHOEK – The University of Namibia (Unam) council has appointed Associate Professor Kenneth Matengu as the university’s new Vice-Chancellor, who in history also becomes the youngest person to occupy that top job.
Matengu, 40-years-old was appointed on Friday, following the retirement of Professor Lazarus Hangula, who served the institution for 25 years in various academic roles.
Matengu emerged the successful candidate among the four candidates who last week provided – in front of a curious and likely interrogative mob of public members – their vision for the University of Namibia.
The other two candidates that are all currently employed at Unam who contested the top job are Associate professors Elizabeth Amukugo and Frednard Gideon, as well as Professor Lucius Botes, a South African citizen.
New Era was unable to get hold of Matengu yesterday, to engage him on his new appointment as he is currently out of the country.
Unam’s Director for Communications and Marketing Edwin Tjiramba, on Friday said Unam council has unanimously appointed Matengu as the university’s third vice chancellor.
He said Matengu’s appointment is effective from August 1 and is set for a period of six years.
Matengu who previously served as Unam Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development succeeds Hangula whose office tenure ends on July 30.
Hangula took over as Vice-Chancellor of the university in 2004 at the age of 56. He replaced the current Speaker of the National Assembly, Prof Peter Katjavivi, who served as Vice Chancellor at the age of 51 from 1992 to 2003.
Tjiramba described Matengu as “a Unam alumnus, and Associate Research Professor at the university as well as honorary visiting Professor at Cardiff University in Wales, a distinguished researcher with global interrelations and a wide experience of leadership in academia”.
The core responsibility of the vice chancellor is to provide executive leadership and implement the policies of the university council and to ensure the university’s resources are used in ways that most effectively advance the approved mission and the strategic plan of the university.
Tjiramba said the entire selection process from an eight-week applications invitation that ended on December 8 last year, eligibility and contacting of only shortlisted candidates, undergoing psychometric assessments, conducting interviews, public presentations and recommendations are handled by a search committee as prescribed by council.
The final point in recruitment process, Tjiramba added, is that the university council appoints the vice-chancellor after consideration of a report by the search committee.
The search committee members were Sam Shivute, Dr Maggy Beukes-Amiss, Kadiva Hamutumwa, Professor Maruis Hedimbi, Dr Christina Swart-Opperman and Dr David Uirab.