Is Kandjeke irreplaceable?

Martin Endjala

A motion passed in parliament today, to reappoint Auditor General Junias Kandjeke, has sent the August house into an tense debate as opposition parties questioned the rationale behind reappointing the current AG for another five-year term, given the availability of other capable candidates like his Deputy Gommes Menette.

Landless Peoples Movement Leader, Bernadus Swartbooi stressed that Kandjeke has raised concerns about not having the power to hold government sectors accountable, in that public finance sectors are said to be auditing themselves which, lessens the powers of the Auditor General. This will be Kandjeke’s third reappointment in the position in which he would have served 20 years.

Swartbooi said that he has question marks when it comes to the process of appointing persons. He takes issue with the President nominating one person, whose name is brought to parliament to be appointed, a process he says is not right. He argues that parliament should be the nominating body, the interview conductor of at least three candidates, and the recommender of a suitable candidate to appoint.

Swartbooi noted that succession planning needs to be seriously looked at by the government.

“This should seriously be looked at. Does succession planning not mean something in government, or are positions just created for decoration? As much as we are praising Kandjeke for a job well done, are we really saying that there is no next person that can take his position, like Gommes Menette, a man who has the skills and commitment just as Kandjeke? Why was he not considered?”, Swartbooi questioned.

He has since called for prudence in such appointments, suggesting that the final name for consideration should not come from the head of state.

Similarly, National United Democratic Organization Secretary General, Joseph Kauandenge said that despite a good job by Kandjeke thus far, the question remains whether or not follow-ups on failures and concerns raised in reports are carried out.

Kauandenge also indicated that concerns raised by the AG, pertaining to offices not respecting his office need to be seriously dealt with as this will impede the office of the Auditor General to carry out its mandate.

Kauandenge said that these recommendations have been ignored totally over and over the years and that government ought to revisit this issue.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that all due diligence processes were adhered to as per the law in appointing, while also assuring the Members of parliament that as the government if the AG is underperforming, the National Assembly has the power to bring him to accountability.

Concerns over the lack of funding for the Office of the Auditor General, she said, will soon be discussed and debated.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila reiterated that Kandjeke’s appointment is based on his performance, which the entire National Assembly is supportive of, and that it is based on those merits that he was duly appointed to serve for another five terms.

In support of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Veikko Nekundi questioned why the opposition was only focusing on the reappointments and not on Kandjeke’s performance, thus asserting that they must accept him.

“Many of you have been in this August house for more than ten years, but you are still here so there is no difference, you must just accept him,”Nekundi said.

Meanwhile, Bernadette Jagger the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Welfare called for the next candidate to be a woman and not a man regardless of whether she is from a marginalized community, disabled or not.

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