Ua-Ndjarakana Eyes City Top Job

THE Windhoek municipality’s political leadership is heavily divided on who should take over as the next chief executive officer, amid allegations that some leaders are bulldozing in candidates of their choice.

The Namibian is informed that the municipality has shortlisted six candidates who are expected to be interviewed tomorrow.

They are the Bank of Namibia spokesperson Ndangi Katoma and former diplomat and NamPower spokesperson Monica Nashandi.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana is also in the running, while the director of the University of Namibia’s Business School, Mac Hengari, is in for the top job, together with Oshakati’s Premier Electricity chief executive Fillemon Nakashole.

The identity of the sixth candidate could not be verified yesterday.

At the centre of the controversy is troubled Mayor of Windhoek Agnes Kafula’s involvement in the process. She is accused by some municipal leaders of pushing for Nashandi to be the city’s boss to an extent that she is involved in most of the processes of recruitment.

“It is conflict of interest because she is the player and the referee. The candidates are shortlisted by the management committee which she is part of. The candidates are taken through a panel which she is also part of.

Lastly, she is also part of the council which makes the final decision,” said a source.

Those close to the incumbent CEO’s office said although the outgoing chief Niilo Taapopi has distanced himself from the selection process, he prefers Katoma to take over.

Deputy mayor Muesee Kazapua, who harbours mayoral ambitions, is said to be lobbying for Hengari, while sources said the front-runners for the position are Nashandi and Katoma.

Kafula declined to comment on allegations that she is pushing for Nashandi and whether she wants to place a CEO who will serve her agenda when she goes to parliament next year.

“No comment. No comment,” she said yesterday.

Taapopi also declined to comment on talks that he is pushing for a candidate who will serve his interests when he leaves.

He, however, said he will be leaving the position after 16 December as agreed in his extended contract.

Okahandja municipality chief executive officer Frans Enkali was inches away from getting the job last month but the process was stopped, allegedly due to the investigations against him at Okahandja.

Enkali received 52% from the panel that included Kafula and Taapopi, beating Windhoek municipality’s strategic executive for community services George Mayumbelo who got 45%.

The other candidates beaten by Enkali were Jerome Mouton, the chief executive officer at Namsov Fishing Enterprises and former director of elections Moses Ndjarakana. The municipality decided to stop the process and re-start their hunt for a CEO two weeks ago.

The decision to start over has not pleased some municipal leaders who believe that the current process is being rushed while the municipality could have chosen Mayumbelo who came second.

It is not the first time Mayumbelo is being sidelined from the top job, after losing to Taapopi in 2004 when the incumbent was taken from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration where he was the permanent secretary.

Sources said Mayumbelo is not favoured by the municipal kingmakers because they fear he might expose some of their shady deals.

The Namibian understands that there is now a faction of disgruntled leaders in the municipality who are planning to boycott the selection of the next CEO.

The leaders who are against the ongoing rushed process are calling for the recruitment of the new CEO to be put on ice for the municipality to look for a candidate with time.

Certain leaders are thus calling for the process to be outsourced to an external company to impartially decide on the next CEO in order to avoid political interference in the process.

WHO ARE THEY?

Katoma is one of Taapopi’s favourite managers as he served at the municipality from 2001 to 2010, first as the executive assistant to the CEO for two years and later as manager of corporate communications, marketing and tourism until 2010.

He is now the director of strategic communications and financial sector development at the Bank of Namibia.

Katoma has a Masters degree in Business Management Administration from the university of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

Nashandi, a former diplomat and politician, was Namibia’s ambassador to Scandinavian countries from 1995 to 1999. She was also the former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1999 – 2005.

She served as deputy chief of protocol at State House as well as undersecretary in political and economic affairs in the foreign affairs ministry.

She was removed from the Swapo party list for the 2009 national elections because she had not registered to vote.

Nashandi is currently the divisional manager, strategy, corporate communication and electrification at Nampower.

Nashandi’s competitor Hengari served as the director of Unam’s Namibia Business School since 2009. He has various business interests including a petroleum licence.

He worked as an economist for the United Nations from 1997 to 2001.

ICT’s Ua-Ndjarakana has a history of heading several ministries as permanent secretary, starting with the ministry of prisons in 1999, Office of the Prime Minister in 2003, safety and security ministry and later to the current ministry where he has been since 2007.

The other contender is Fillemon Nakashole, a bachelor of technology, electrical engineering graduate from the University of Johannesburg, who started working as an assistant engineer of electrification at NamPower in 1998. He went on to be the founder of Oshakati Premier Electric where he has served as CEO since 2000.

Source : The Namibian