Ovahimba Community Accuses Govt of Discrimination

THE Ovahimba are enraged by the education ministry’s move to dismiss 23 teachers from schools in Opuwo in January this year.

The teachers from 10 different schools were dismissed because they did not have the required 24 points in Grade 12.

The community alleges that government has dismissed experienced teachers, only to replace them with inexperienced teachers from outside of the region. Traditional leaders have raised some serious concerns about what they consider to be illegal and unprocedural appointments of new unqualified and inexperienced teachers from other communities.

“The teachers they have replaced them with are not only inexperienced but they are not from the region and are not familiar with the language spoken here, this is a clear case of discrimination against our own people” lamented Mahongo Hembinda, a concerned parent and community member.

Chief Edward Mumbuu of Opuwo said government has been using local Ovahimba and Ovazemba in-service trained teachers for mobilise school units since 1996 and that the dismissal is an attempt to further marginalise them.

“Our humble request and submission to the minister of education is that the appointment of these new teachers must be declared null and void and that their services be terminated with immediate effect,” said Mumbuu.

He urged the ministry to reinstate the teachers to their respective schools, to complete and improve their qualifications without financial constraints.

One of the teachers, Amon Kapi, who taught at the Ondao Primary School, says he had to drop his studies.

“After three years of studying, I have to abandon my studies since the ministry has abruptly decided that they did not want me teaching in my current inexperienced state,” said Kapi.

Kapi has been teaching for over four years and says he was about to complete his studies.

Kapi and others are also alleging that the new teachers recruited by government are acquaintances of education officials in the region, including those of Kunene Education Director Simon Tsuseb. Tsuseb said the teachers’ contracts expired.

“We decided not to renew their contracts based on the fact that we want to replace them with more experienced teachers. We do not have a mandate to dismiss teachers, only the permanent secretary can do that” he said.

Tsuseb also denied that the new teachers that were inexperienced or that they were people that he recommended personally. “They were simply employed based on their qualifications,” he said.

Opuwo Education Inspector, Chris Tjivikua said the teachers were employed on a temporary basis.

“We are not obligated to re-employ them once their contract has ended, and besides, we want to ensure that more experienced teachers are employed and root out those that do not meet our requirements,” he said.

Source : The Namibian