The international relations ministry has dismissed social media reports, accusing minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah of allegedly awarding a scholarship to the daughter of her campaign manager.
The ministry came out in defence of Nandi-Ndaitwah, saying she has no involvement in the selection and ultimate awarding of a SADC scholarship to Meameno Twafindana Nghinamwaami.
On 29 September 2022, Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also deputy prime minister, officiated the regional bloc’s annual scholarship ceremony, where she congratulated Nghinamwaami for having received the SADC 2022 annual scholarship award.
“You have done well. On such occasions, I will always remind our recipient that her success is not hers alone. Today is possible only because of the support of your family, teachers and those important to you.
“It is also only possible because of the opportunities provided by our community and country. So, please take a moment to join me in applauding everyone who has supported you in your journey,” she said at the time.
Subsequently, allegations started flying on WhatsApp groups that the recipient is the daughter of Nandi-Ndaitwah’s campaign manager.
Nandi-Ndaitwah is in the race for the governing party’s vice presidency against the environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Campaigns kicked off late last month.
The ministry’s executive director, Penda Naanda, clarified neither Nandi-Ndaitwah nor the international relations ministry played a direct role in the selection of candidates and the final awarding of scholarships.
Naanda explained the SADC Secretariat launched an annual scholarship contest for the academic year 2022/2023 for full-time taught masters, doctoral, postdoctoral studies or research in social sciences.
“The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, upon receipt of the notification from the SADC Secretariat, forwarded the information to the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation. The Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation forwarded a letter to the SADC Secretariat, submitting two names of selected applicants meeting the SADC annual scholarship requirements. SADC Secretariat selected Meameno Twafindana Nghinamwaami, and has awarded her scholarship amounting to US$20 000 to study for a master’s degree,” Naanda said.
Nghinamwaami is enrolled for her Master of Science in Applied Field Epidemiology or Laboratory Management at the University of Namibia.
Hafeni Nghinamwaami, the supposed campaign manager, yesterday denied knowing the recipient.
“I have seen in the media that my name has been linked to the young lady, who is reported to have successfully obtained a scholarship of US$20 000 to study at the University of Namibia. Her name is given as Meameno Nghinamwaami. I take the first opportunity to congratulate Meameno on the very important achievement and to wish her the very best,” he reacted.
“I do not have a daughter or relative who goes by the name Meameno. My daughter who carries my name is four years old. I have sympathy with these disparate elements, who are bent on caricaturing my name in public, linking this to comrade Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to tarnish her image. Moreover, I am not a campaign manager, as we don’t carry such titles. Seemingly, it is cold where they stand and they look for warmth elsewhere, albeit through intellectual dishonesty rooted in malicious intent. They must try harder.”
Attempts to get hold of the recipient proved futile.
According to her LinkedIn profile, she is doing her Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Public Health at Unam, enrolled as of January 2022, and is expected to complete her programme in December 2023.
Naanda said the ministry has always encouraged Namibians from all walks of life to apply for international scholarships whenever they are available.
Thus, he stated the ministry advertises such opportunities on all its communication platforms, including the ministerial website and social media.