Think Tank Bombshell On Gender Balance

Implementing the 5050 gender balance or Zebra style representation adopted by the Swapo Party is likely to extend to the selection of chief executive officers for State-Owned Enterprises and posts of other management cadres in the civil service, a confidential memo of ‘recommendations’ made available to New Era revealed yesterday. In addition, the current Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, TransNamib boss Sara Naanda, prominent lawyer Natasha Bassingthwaighte, Law Society of Namibia director Retha Steinmann, and communication entrepreneur Magreth Gustavo are among the handful of women identified as “ideal potential candidates for the MP Nominee list,” in the document that speaks of “not only balancing gender in politics, but in the corporate sphere as well.” None of the women suggested on the list were willing to comment publicly, even though most of them expressed enthusiastic surprise at being included on the list. The memo, titled “Recommendations in Implementing Gender Balance,” would be discussed during behind closed doors discussions by the ruling party’s top leadership and the party’s think tank committee next week at the posh Mount Etjo lodge.

Swapo Party Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba declined to comment on the document, which his office has described as “a confidential working document explicitly set as a tentative agenda for the Mount Etjo meeting.” Mbumba said: “As you said, it is a confidential memo, a working document, don’t you think then my public comment would defeat its very purpose of being confidential?” The chairperson of the ruling party’s think-tank Dr Kalumbi Shangula could neither confirm nor deny the content of the memo even though a large part of the recommendations are said to have originated from a think tank retreat that took place a fortnight ago. “I neither have time to comment on ghost documents nor have the inclination to speculate on what is clearly, deducing from your words, brainstorming scribbles on a piece of paper,” Shangula said before hanging up the phone. It is not clear how the recommendations would be rceived in the corporate world, with Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) yesterday saying corporate success should be left to be decided on merit and not on the basis of gender balancing. “I think the market forces should be left to determine corporate directions,” said NCCI Chief Executive Officer, Tarah Shaanika yesterday.

Source : New Era