Namibia: Caprivi High Treason Convict Attains PhD

A MEMBER of the group that was sentenced for attempting to secede the the Caprivi region from Namibia in 1999 has obtained a doctor of philosophy degree in education management from the University of South Africa.

Dr Aggrey Kayabu Makendano (54) is serving the last nine years of his 15-year sentence at the Hardap correctional facility.

He is part of a group of 47 people who were accused of high treason for taking part in the mini-armed conflict led by the former politician, Mishake Muyongo, between the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) and the Namibian government.

The group was charged with 278 counts of criminal conduct which include high treason, murder and sedition. It was the longest and largest trial in the history of Namibia which lasted 16 years. Before going to jail Makendano was a Biology and Silozi teacher at various schools in Caprivi, now known as the Zambezi region.While in incarceration he completed his honours, master's, and PhD. It took him two years to complete the PhD.

"Lack of access to outside libraries, unreliable internet and lack of financial assistance to pay for studies and study materials," were some of the challenges he encountered as a student in incarceration.

Makendano is very passionate about discipline among senior secondary school pupils, which was his research topic for his masters and doctorate degrees. He explored the teachers' experiences in managing pupil discipline in secondary schools in the Zambezi for his master's and Hardap region for the doctorate. The aim was to determine the extent to which teachers are able to manage pupil behaviour in high schools in those regions. He found that the lack of parental involvement, disregard for authority, unruly parents, abolishment of corporal punishment and lack of strict and clear substitutes for corporal punishment are some of the challenges that teachers face.

"The government policies do not address the maintenance of pupil discipline in schools. Therefore, teachers are disciplining pupils without any directives from the ministry regarding the alternatives they can apply in case of misbehaviour," Makendano said.

He concluded that discipline among pupils is a problem in schools and a major contributor to poor academic performance and recommended that the education ministry provide security to schools to curb criminal activities.

Makendano believes he still has a lot to contribute to the education sector and has since 2016 been putting his knowledge to good use by promoting literature in the correctional facility. He plans to pursue further studies and wishes to establish a university to complement the institutions of higher learning in the country.

The Namibian Correctional Services (NCS) facilitated the transportation and collection of data and a single cell for study purposes. NCS spokesperson Commissioner Sam Shaalulange said they are proud of the contribution and efforts they have made to facilitate education and other rehabilitation programs for inmates.

"In the case of this inmate, we indeed consider his success as a huge milestone in education and rehabilitation and his reintegration. We are confident that he has a promising future before him and that he will not only be a law-abiding citizen, but also one who will positively contribute to the country's [development] with this qualification," said Shaalulange.

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