Discrimination Claims Hit Reserve Bank

THE Bank of Namibia has been accused of discriminating against a disabled employee amongst other issues pointing to poor labour relations at the institution.

The Namibian understands that workers at the central bank are unhappy and have been forced to work in an environment of fear.

Sources at the bank said many professional staff have left the central bank within the last two years after clashes with senior management because of alleged poor working relations.

A case in point is allegedly a complaint of discrimination forwarded to governor Iipumbu Shiimi’s office.

The complaint is said to have come from the bank’s head of legal services, Tulonga Nakamhela, who is living with disability and requires walking aids.

Nakamhela’s complaint to Shiimi allegedly stems from a top-level meeting, where Shiimi was allegedly also present, late last year. At the said meeting, BoN’s head of risk management Magreth Tjongarero apparently complained that Nakamhela was sickly and that a succession plan should be made to replace him.

Discrimination against disabled workers is against the labour laws of Namibia.

The Namibian understands that Nakamhela did not protest in the meeting but took it up with Shiimi and allegedly enquired whether his disability has been affecting his performance.

Word in the Bank of Namibia corridors is that Shiimi never responded and that neither he nor the bank took up Nakamhela’s complaint.

Sources further said Nakamhela told them that he has since been living in fear of losing his job. To add to the suspicion that Nakamhela was being pushed out, the BoN allegedly decided to increase Tjongarero’s salary.

Tjongarero and Nakamhela are the only two managers called heads of department and their pay grade used to be the same.

When Tjongarero’s past was upgraded and Nakamhela’s not, it brought suspicions that the central bank really intended on removing Nakamhela.

Nakamhela this week said he does not discuss his work in the media. He referred questions to the central bank. Tjongarero also refused to talk to The Namibian referring questions to the banks communications department.

Bank of Namibia spokesperson Ndangi Katoma said the bank will not comment on internal matters.

“Please take note that these questions relate to an internal staff matter and that the Bank of Namibia does not discuss staff issues of this nature with the media.” Katoma said via email last week.

Sources said the current situation is also the reason why the bank has been experiencing a brain drain. They said more than eight senior employees and other professional staff have left the bank in the last two years.

Source : The Namibian