Air Namibia’s Acting Managing Director, Ellaine Samson, is expected to be unveiled as the substantive head of the national airline, after ministers Leone Jooste and Alpheus !Naruseb gave their blessings on her appointment.
Samson, a lawyer by profession, has been acting MD since August 2015.
The Windhoek Observer has seen correspondences between Air Namibia Board Chairman, Gerson Tjihenuna, Public Enterprises Minister, Leone Jooste and former Works and Transport Minister, Alpheus !Naruseb, in which the trio recommended that Samson be appointed as MD as she is the “ideal” candidate for the top job.
Samson’s appointment was supposed to have been confirmed between July and August last year, but was inexplicably delayed.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, new Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, said he has seen the recommendation letters from his predecessor !Naruseb, Jooste and Tjihenuna.
Mutorwa said he will soon consult the trio to find out if their position has not changed.
“Now that I have this information, I am going back to the board and the two ministers about whether the content of these letters, still stands. And if that is the case, then I will go with that to Cabinet for endorsement,” Mutorwa said.
The minister stressed that he does not like to see people acting in positions for a long time, saying that it is unfair.
“I don’t like it when institutions believe someone is competent enough to run things and appoint them in an acting capacity indefinitely. It is not fair.
“The fact is, a person should only act for a short period of time. If somebody is found to be good at the job, either give the person that position or move on and give the position to another person who deserves it. This type of things causes problems,” Mutorwa said.
Samson worked as General Manager for Corporate and Legal Services at the Namibia Airports Company and served as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at the Government Institution’s Pension Fund (GIPF).
She was also a Commissioner of the Law Reform and Development Commission and a member of a Cabinet-appointed task team on the De Beers sales agreement.
On the aviation front, Samson, who has a private legal practice, assisted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in developing and drafting the Common Regulations of Competition in Air Transport Services within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and SADC.
More recently, she served as a consultant to the African Union tasked with drafting regulations of competition for air transport in Africa, and arbitration procedures.
Government has been struggling to find a suitable candidate for Air Namibia’s top job since the departure of Theo Namases in 2014.
Last month, Air Namibia’s Manager of Corporate Communications, Paul Nakawa confirmed to the Windhoek Observer that Samson was among the candidates that had applied for the job.
“The MD position was advertised sometime in 2016 and interviews took place mid-2017. I am not privy to how many candidates sat for the MD position interviews as this process was spearheaded by a private external company (Deloitte) and the Board of Directors. But what I can confirm is this, our current Acting Managing Director Advocate Samson was one of the participants,”Nakawa said.
Samson made headlines recently when she led staff to a prayer meeting, seeking God’s help to enable them to become profitable.
“We are all aware of the challenges currently facing the national carrier, and it will indeed be appreciated if we can join in prayer and through our common faith believe that Air Namibia which has existed in various forms for very many years will continue its operations,” Samson was quoted as having told staff members.