Hunt for Air Namibia MD likely to start from scratch….as board mandate extended by two months

10 August 2018 Author   CHAMWE KAIRA
The process to appoint a full-time Managing Director at Air Namibia is likely to start all over again under the guidance of a new board that is yet to be appointed.
Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa, told the Windhoek Observer on Thursday that he was busy sifting through CVs of more than 90 people that applied for a position on the new board, which will then be expected to recruit the MD.
The outgoing Gerson Tjihenuna-led board last year recommended that Acting MD, Ellaine Samson, be appointed fulltime, but Cabinet has not confirmed her candidature for close to a year now.
Interestingly, Mutorwa did not explicitly say that the decision of the outgoing board to appoint Samson will not be followed.
“The law says that the MD will be appointed by a board and endorsed by the minister and Cabinet,” the minister said, words that could imply that a new board may choose to start the recruitment process all over again.
“The decision has not been made yet. We are now busy with the appointment of a new board that is my preoccupation. My task at hand is to ensure that I get a new board in place. I am sifting through the applications. I am not talking about the previous board. I was not there.”
Tjihenuna, whose board’s mandate has been extended for two months after it expired on 31 July, said they are still waiting for Cabinet to endorse or reject its recommended candidate.
“You may recall that I explained to you earlier that our submission in which we recommended the appointment of Ms Samson went to our line minister (who was then Honourable Alpheus !Naruseb) in August 2017.”
Public Enterprises Minister, Leon Jooste, told the Windhoek Observer last month that Cabinet would discuss the matter on 19 July.
Jooste did not yet respond to questions sent to him before going to print.
Tjihenuna said he was not aware of the 19 July Cabinet meeting, adding that if the matter was discussed, the outcome has not yet been communicated to them.
He said it would be premature for him to say whether the board’s recommendation was rejected or accepted since they have not yet heard from the transport minister after the 19 July meeting.
Samson has been Acting MD since August 2015.
She was selected as the preferred candidate for the top job at the flag carrier after a recruitment process that also involved Deloitte Namibia for transparency and fairness.
Mutorwa, told the Windhoek Observer in February that he had seen recommendation letters from his predecessor  !Naruseb, Jooste and Tjihenuna, saying Samson was the preferred candidate. 
Mutorwa said then that he would soon consult the trio to find out if their positions had not changed.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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