Sport Ministry ‘quietly appoints’ boxing board

By Michael Uugwanga

The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service has  allegedly“secretly” appointed new members to the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB), with Dr Philip Mwandingi, a labour consultant promoted to chairperson of the new board, replacing Ellison Hijarunguru.

Other board members elected to serve on the new board – according to sources with knowledge of the latest developments – include John Kaimbi, Timo Haikonda and Hendricks Mapele. Mwandingi was deputy chairperson of the old board under Hijarunguru appointed in 2016 by then sport minister Jerry Ekandjo on a three-year term.

Confidente is reliably informed that the line ministry also asked renowned boxing promoter Nestor Sunshine Tobias, founder of MTC Nestor Sunshine Tobias Boxing & Fitness Academy, to put forward names for the new board after the old board’s term of office came to an end on 5 September.

In terms of the Boxing Act of 1980, the Sport Ministry is expected to advertise positions on the board. The old board was appointed to improve the standard of boxing in Namibia, but that has apparently not transpired if there is any truth to media reports about claims by some boxing promoters that former chairman Hijarunguru ran the board as his own little fiefdom.

Asked to comment on the appointment of the new board, Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Erastus Uutoni denied the allegations, saying he was not aware of it and that he would inform the public about the new board in due course, but could not say when exactly that would be. “Thank you very much for the information and I will inform everyone at the appropriate time,” Uutoni said briefly.

Dr Mwandingi could also not confirm or deny when asked if he had been appointed as the new chairperson of the board or if he was still the deputy chairperson of the old board. “I have no answer for you my brother. I am not at my office since Monday, 30 September. I am attending a workshop at NIPAM and bear no knowledge of what you’re saying.”

This weekend on 5 October Kinda Promotions will be hosting its boxing bonanza at NamPower Convention Centre in Windhoek, although the owner of Kinda Promotions, Kinda Nangolo has had a fallout with Hijarungu over his claim that Hijarunguru owes him around N$79,000 dating back to 2016.

It is understood that Hijarunguru and the entire board subsequently barred Kinda Promotions from hosting events in Namibia and refused to sanction any Kinda Promotions boxing events.