Iyambo reopens schoolBy: JAN POOLMAN
EDUCATION Minister Abraham Iyambo made an urgent trip to the Haihambo Primary School in the Ohangwena Region after its illegal closure by protesters and will meet with school leaders and the community this morning.
He ordered the immediate reopening of the school, describing the action as unconstitutional and illegal. The Ohangwena regional education director, Sanet Steenkamp, has been tasked to ensure that this directive is executed. Swapo members from Omutwewomunhu village in the Epembe Constituency had locked the main gate at the school and prevented teachers and pupils from starting with the third term yesterday.
The bone of contention is the patronage of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) leader Hidipo Hamutenya and donations that he made to the school.
In terms of the Education Act, it is only the Minister who can decide to close a school and according to Iyambo he did not take such a decision.
“The closure of the school is against the government’s constitutional obligation to provide education to all Namibians,” Iyambo wrote to Steenkamp.
It is against this background that he ordered the immediate opening of the school and, if needed, the police would maintain law and order at the school.
Swapo secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana told The Namibian yesterday that the ruling party cannot be held responsible for the closure of the school.
“If a community has problems with a school the name of Swapo should not be dragged into it. This is only a way to use the party as the scapegoat.”
She neither condemned nor supported the closure of the school.
The RDP has condemned “the illegal, barbaric and unethical behaviour of some Swapo members who have decided to take the law into their own hands by closing the gates of the Haihambo Primary School”.
RDP secretary for information and publicity Jeremiah Nambinga said it was unthinkable that some members of the ruling party had the audacity to deny children their constitutional right to education.
Nambinga added that President Hifikepunye Pohamba had promised an RDP delegation at State House earlier this year that he would rein in and control party members because every Namibian citizen had an obligation to contribute to education.
The expectation is that Iyambo will solve the problem during his visit to the school this morning.