Uutoni questions Windhoek CEO appointment process

OGONE TLHAGE
Urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni has questioned the pace at which the City of Windhoek council is moving regarding the appointment of a CEO, saying it is worrisome that the position has been left vacant for so long.

The City has been without a substantiative head since former CEO Robert Kahimise resigned in October 2020.

While the council recommended the appointment of current Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi in October 2021, the process seems to be experiencing unending hiccups.

Weighing in on the matter, Uutoni said the position was critical to the residents of Windhoek.

Position critical

“The CEO position is very critical, because he or she is to help or direct and guide the administration structures of municipal employees to effectively deliver services to residents,” he said.

The minister, who wrote to Windhoek mayor Sade Gawanas for an update on the recruitment process, said the delay was a concern.

“In June, I wrote to the mayor asking her to brief me why the recruitment of the CEO is taking that long.

“I appreciate that they are busy checking whether the process was in line with the procedures or that perhaps there were irregularities, and I'm still waiting.

“It’s a concern because the process has taken too long,” he said.

Results from the recruitment process indicated that Lutombi achieved the highest score of 80% during a three-stage interview.

He was followed by current Otjiwarongo CEO Moses Matyayi, who attained 74%, while NamWater executive Eino Emvula got 71%.

Lutombi enters the fray

Despite the process’ outcome in Lutombi’s favour, his appointment was not rubberstamped following concerns that the undertaking had been marred with irregularities.

Of interest to councillors is the involvement of then acting CEO George Mayumbelo in the recruitment process, who is accused of favouring some candidates over others and scoring Lutombi favourably.

In July, the management committee, then led by Independent Patriots for Change’s (IPC) Ndeshihafela Larandja, said it had the authority to restart the recruitment process if it believed the interview panel was not transparent, that there were irregularities or that the panel’s recommendations were not in the council’s best interests.

At one stage, Lutombi threatened to seek a legal review should the City restart the process.

Instability

Meanwhile, a New Era report has indicated that Lutombi is set to take a bite at the position following a motion by Affirmative Repositioning (AR) councillor Job Amupanda to appoint him.

“The failure to conclude this matter has created a lot of instability within council and has led to form an opinion that we cannot govern,” Amupanda wrote to fellow AR councillor Ilse Keister, who also doubles as chairperson of management committee.

Gawanas did not respond to a query on the recruitment process.

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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