NCCI defends Mwiya's rise to CEO

02 April 2019 | Business

Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) president Sven Thieme has defended the appointment of Charity Mwiya as CEO for the next five years.

Thieme refuted claims that the NCCI board had no power to appoint a CEO because its term was supposed to have ended last year and that Mwiya was not qualified for the position.

An NCCI source told Namibian Sun that Mwiya, who had been serving as acting CEO since the departure of Tarah Shaanika in 2017, had allegedly acted in cahoots with some board members to delay the NCCI's annual general meeting (AGM) so that she could be appointed, which is against the organisation's constitution.

“The NCCI board has appointed Mwiya as the CEO without advertising the post and while setting the requirements aside.

“The requirements for this position are that it should be advertised in the local print and electronic media and that a suitable candidate be secured who meets the set requirements, and in particular that of an MBA (Master of Business Administration) or BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration).

“Mwiya only possesses a media diploma, which is far from the minimum requisite,” the source said.

“All this was done in secrecy and not even the NCCI employees were informed about this move.” Thieme, however, said they had emulated a precedent set by previous boards.

He said the past two NCCI CEOs were also recruited from within the secretariat. Shaanika initially joined the chamber as membership officer. After serving as acting CEO, Shaanika was later appointed as substantive head by the then board, led by Leake Hangala.

“Similarly, due process was followed in the appointment of Sam Geiseb as the chamber's CEO by the then board of directors during the presidency of Joan Guriras. Geiseb was appointed from within the ranks of the secretariat, following the departure of the then CEO, John Dammert,” said Thieme.

“The NCCI board is very pleased with Mwiya's satisfactory performance and has every confidence in her ability to head the organisation. She joined the NCCI in 2004, initially heading the trade promotion department. Over the years Mwiya's responsibilities expanded to include her appointment as company secretary.” Thieme said she holds a BA degree in media studies and has been responsible for the planning, organising and the running of numerous NCCI projects and programmes, prior to and during her tenure as acting CEO.

He said Mwiya has also represented the NCCI at local, regional and international level and at conferences and trade negotiation meetings. He added Mwiya will present her strategy to the NCCI board and membership at an AGM slated for May. “Mwiya has over the years gained skills and knowledge in chamber administration and management from participating in business support organisations and business sector representative body managerial development programmes. “During her employ at the chamber she has also diligently served as a member of the Namibia-Sweden Working Group focusing on trade cooperation, and is also a member of the Namibia-South Korea Working Group on Economic Development Strategies for Namibia,” Thieme said. “As a voluntary, membership-based business sector representative body, the NCCI operates under and is guided by its constitution. The secretariat is responsible for the day-to-day operations under the NCCI elected national executive board. With the aim to ensure operational efficiency, accountability and fiscal discipline, Mwiya has been tasked by the board of directors to strengthen the chamber's administrative capacity at local branch level,” he added.

ILENI NANDJATO