Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, has been dragged into a dispute at the Otjozondjupa Regional Council after some disgruntled councillors called for an investigation into the recruitment of the Chief Regional Officer (CRO).
According the councillors, the recruitment process of the CRO has been marred by acts of favouritism and blatant disregard of legal statutes governing the process.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister and seen by the Windhoek Observer, Otjozondjupa Regional Councillor, Vetaruhe Kandorozu, accused the Regional Council Chairperson, Julius Neumbo, and the Deputy Director of Human Resources Therutu Shigweda of shortlisting people they like.
Kandorozu complained that the two handled the whole process privately and shortlisted their preferred candidates for the top post, ignoring the set recruitment criteria.
“The council did not resolve the issue of who should be part of the panelist to conduct the interview. I only received an SMS from the chairperson that the interview was held on the 16th of November at the boardroom of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and that was the first time I also got the list of panelists, whom by my knowledge, are supposed to be endorsed by council as they are performing a duty on behalf of the council,” the letter read.
He said the council had received complaints from some applicants who were not shortlisted for the post, despite some having previously been shortlisted for a similar position in some regions.
“The applicants wanted to know why they were not shortlisted and what criteria were used and how is Otjozondjupa Region so special with regards to the rest of the regions,” the letter read.
According to the letter, the council resolved to advertise and fill the vacant position of CRO, but the process after has been kept under wraps.
“After the closing date of the advert, the Regional Council has been left in the dark with regards to all the information related to the recruitment cycle of this position in particular.
“The Otjozondjupa Regional Council was not provided with the list of all the applicants who applied for the position or the shortlisted candidates, and the reason for disqualification of other applicants were not provided to the council.
“When council requested all this information from our Human Resources Department, we were informed by the Deputy Director of Human Resources and the Chairperson that all the applicants had been summoned by the Permanent Secretary’s office of our line ministry for shortlisting and the interview process,” the letter read.
Kandorozu has since requested the prime minister’s office to investigate the whole process and in the meantime suspend the process of recruitment until everything has been cleared and corrected according to recruitment policies.
“Council is greatly aggrieved by this situation as we were left in the dark with no explanation. This goes against the Regional Council Act which clearly states what role the council needs to play with regards to the recruitment of the CRO.”
When contacted for comment, Neumbo said the council had on Wednesday resolved to postpone the process until council sits on December 7.
“We have not had a CRO for two years; the process has been long and difficult. I have been asking them to give me someone with the correct qualifications and they have not been able to.
“Nothing has been done in secret; it is just people who have hidden agendas. No one has come to me with this, but they have already written a letter to the PM,” Neumbo said.
Permanent Secretary in the line ministry, Ngidhinwa Daniel, said he has no knowledge of the claims in the letter.