Turmoil in Otjiwarongo over CEO recruitment process

Niël Terblanché

The Otjiwarongo Municipality has been thrust into a state of discord following the resignation of two key members of its management committee last week, amid a contentious disagreement over the recruitment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The resignations of Gideon Iiyambo of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and Sebetius Guiteb of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) have sparked concerns over the governance and decision-making processes within the municipality.

Iiyambo, serving as an additional member, and Guiteb, a full member of the management committee, have stepped down from their respective roles but will continue to serve as ordinary council members.

Otjiwarongo Mayor Gottlieb Shivute announced the appointment of Ernst Muraranganda from the Popular Democratic Movement and Hilde Jesaya from the Swapo Party as their replacements.

The controversy at the heart of their resignations lies in the alleged mishandling of the recruitment process for a new CEO for Otjiwarongo.

This crucial position has remained vacant since July of the previous year, following the departure of Moses Matyayi, who left to assume the CEO role at the City of Windhoek.

Reports indicate a stark disagreement among council members, leading to a situation where only one candidate out of 47 applicants was interviewed for the position.

Godhardt Hoko, the chairperson of the management committee, acknowledged the resignations in an interview, refuting claims that he had altered the recruitment requirements to favour a single candidate.

Hoko defended the municipality’s decision to interview only one applicant, asserting that such a practice is not unusual for the municipality.

This incident raised significant questions about the transparency and fairness of recruitment practices within the Otjiwarongo Municipality.

The departure of Iiyambo and Guiteb from the management committee emphasizes the deep divisions and challenges facing the local government, particularly in filling a leadership vacuum critical to the town’s administration and development.

As the municipality moves forward to address these issues, the community and stakeholders will be closely watching how the recruitment process unfolds and whether the new appointments will heal the rifts or further complicate governance in Otjiwarongo.

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