President Hifikepunye Pohamba
The recently announced change in the University of Namibia Chancellorship from founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma to the current President Hifikepunye Pohamba will not necessarily impact the university’s operations, the institution’s Director of Communication and Marketing Edwin Tjiramba said.
According to Tjiramba there will be no much changes in the running of Unam and the institution will continue to implement its current policies and strategies.
He added that normally the chancellorship is an honorary position and the chancellor does not get involved in the day to day management.
“Unam operations will continue unaffected by the change in chancellorship. It is an honorary position and normally, the main role of the Chancellor is to confer degrees to graduates. There should be no concern for any dramatic changes that were not planned for beforehand,” said Tjiramba.
However, Tjiramba noted that when it comes to policy formulation a chancellor may play an important role in canvassing for support to the university and can be instrumental in the expansion of the programmes.
He commended the active role played by the Founding Father in the establishment of the medical school as well as the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology adding that Pohamba is a capable leader who will continue in the path of his predecessor.
Nujoma has been the Chancellor of Unam since its inception in 1991 and has been a stern advocate of Namibian students to study in the field of science, engineering and geology noting that such fields will help the country achieve its development agenda.
Nujoma himself is a graduate of Unam where he studied geology.
Unam will effectively confer the chancellorship of the university to President Pohamba in November; the official announcement was done this month.
Tjiramba denied that the change in Unam chancellorship was due to public pressure.
“We are not aware of any public pressure to change our popular chancellor. It was the Founding Father himself who approached the University Council to be relieved of the chancellorship duties and that is when the University Council elected President Pohamba as his successor,” said Tjiramba.
The University Act states that the chancellor is elected by the University Council and will hold office for a period of six years, and will also be eligible for re-election once the term of office ends.
Under Nujoma`s Chancellorship, Unam increasingly became assertive in the field of agriculture and has been involved in the country’s green scheme that aims at making Namibia self sufficient in food production.
One such project is the successful implementation of the Kalimbeza Rice Project in Caprivi region.
A chancellor should be an individual who can command respect and would be accepted by staff and students as the overall titular head of the institution.
Earlier this year, Pohamba received an Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctor of Philosophy – Honoris Causa) from Unam.