City mayor Sade Gawanas has admitted that the cancer of having no Chief Executive Officer inherited by the current leadership has left council and staff members divided and unending boardroom fights.
In her admission, she said, this was the toughest challenge since the new coalition which wrestled powers from the Swapo Party, took over in December 2020, though commending the leadership for having succeeded to finally resolve the bickering, which now only awaits the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Erastus Uutoni to approve the recommended CEO. The mayor says a submission to the minister was made in accordance with regulation 28 (3) of the recruitment and selection under the Local Authority Councils Act 1992 (act 23 of 1992) and in terms of section 27 (1).
On that note, Gawanas said she could not give a definite date as to when the CEO will start because it is now up to the minister, as well as the notice period of the successful candidate as per his current employment conditions.
“The divided council required a great sense of maturity and reminding of the broader social mandate in order to reach consensus. Council has proven that regardless of political or personal beliefs; challenges can be overcome and that an accord can be reached in the name of serving the greater good, which is ensuring that we deliver upon our mandate and service delivery,” stressed Gawanas.
Council had on the 12 of October unanimously resolved to accept the recommendation of the interview panel and proceeded with the endorsement of Road Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi who was the successful candidate. Gawanas said there were 16 successfully qualifying candidates who were interviewed out of 61 applications.
“It unfortunately also became a divisive topic politically and as a result, challenges which were not necessarily of a technical nature but more political impacted the process adversely,” she stressed.
The municipality has been without a CEO since Robert Kahimise resigned due to a toxic relationship.
The mayor refused to be drawn into discussions why Kahimise, who is considered highly experienced, was not shortlisted. “I will not discuss individuals, but I will say from the 61 applications the 16 who fully met the requirements were shortlisted and interviewed. I am just a chairman, and I had a trusted team that had to deal with that matter, so why should I interfere with the processes,” she said.
She castigated the media for allegedly pushing a divisive agenda overlooking the good things the councillors undertook. “Yes, we are divided politically and in opinion, however on common grounds we preside over big issues.’’
Gawanas also sought to clarify the issue of the recruitment which was not supported by some members of the council, who argued that the process was marred by irregularities. “There was nothing related to corruption in the process, what was raised by councillor Job Amupanda, was the issue of Mayumbelo forming part of the panel and also the number of applications that were not tallying. So these issues were interrogated and it was established that all process were followed and done in-line with the principles.”
I have the power
Meanwhile Gawanas had an issue with her counterpart, Queen Kamati serving on a Swapo ticket, who felt the press conference was not necessary, and that it was premature because the recruitment process of a CEO is not finalised.
“Any further media engagement have the potential of derailing and creating unwarranted assumptions to this very important recruitment process,” said Kamati in a memo seen by the Observer.
Gawanas countered saying, “it is very disrespectful for councillor Kamati to send me a memo after hours yet had the whole day to do so. I informed the stakeholders well on time of the press conference. As a chairperson of the council I am mandated to update the public on issues happening, and that is what I did today because I have that power, so how premature is my action?” “So it would have been okay if the councillor engaged me well on time on her reasons thereof to give ample time to engage. Also other councillors are not here, and I do know why, also their presence or absence has nothing to do with them showing support or not. This about updating the public on the recruitment process.”