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Lutombi serves City CEO ultimatum

2022-07-21  Loide Jason

Lutombi serves City CEO ultimatum

Lawyers representing Conrad Lutombi, who was the frontrunner to become Windhoek’s CEO, have written to City of Windhoek acting CEO O’Brien Hekandjo, demanding interview scorecards and explaining why they failed to inform the unsuccessful candidates about the interview outcome.  

Lutombi’s lawyer  Jermaine Muchali told New Era yesterday they served Hekandjo with an urgent correspondence through the Office of the Deputy Sheriff of Windhoek regarding their media release, dated 11 July 2022.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Hekandjo said he could not answer, as he was out of the
office.  However, spokesperson Harold Akwenye said the City did not receive any correspondence from the lawyers. 

“As soon as we receive it, we will inform you of what the demands are,” he said.

“Today (yesterday), we have filed an urgent correspondence through the office of the deputy sheriff of Windhoek to be served on the acting CEO, Mr O’Brien Hekandjo, to comprehensively explain the media release, considering that the City of Windhoek failed to comply with their own regulation 30(3). Our client has not received such notice, and he is uncertain whether he succeeded or not with the interviews,” said Muchali in an interview with New Era yesterday.

Regulation 30(3) states: “The human resources department must inform the unsuccessful applicants of the outcome of the interview in the form substantially corresponding to Form 5”. 

Hekandjo must meet the demands on or before 31 July 2022. In the media release, dated 11 July, Hekandjo stated the management committee in November 2021 invoked regulation 27(8)(a) of the recruitment and selection regulations and resolved that the recruitment process should be started afresh. 

In the same media release, the recruitment and selection regulations empower the management committee to take such a decision. “The management committee, as mandated by the Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act 23 of 1992) is required to report to the council in exercising its powers. By the said provision, the management committee reported to the council on the recruitment process for the CEO position,” he stated.

He added that on that basis, the chairperson of the management committee, Ndeshihafela Larandja, subsequently instructed the acting CEO to restart the recruitment process.

According to Muchali, the media release is “vague and ambiguous” because it does not illustrate the reasons why the management committee invoked regulation 27(8)(a).

Muchali further indicated they further demanded the acting CEO to provide them with a copy of the management committee meeting or resolution to invoke regulation 27(8)(a); an authenticated report with substantiated reasons for invoking regulation 27(8)(a); a copy of the
interview score sheet; the summary of evaluation; a copy of the recommended successful candidate, and a copy of any criminal complaint registered at the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia (ACC) and/or the Namibian Police.

“In the event, the acting CEO does not comply with our demands, then unfortunately we will seek redress at other competent institutions in Namibia, inclusive but not limited to the High Court of Namibia, the Supreme Court of Namibia and the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia,” the legal practitioner

The law firm indicated the administrative organ, such as the City of Windhoek, must make decisions purely on fairness and reasonableness. 

“Any decisions that were made willy-nilly and/or without justification will be challenged without hesitation. If our client was a successful candidate, he deserves to be appointed to the position of CEO of the City of Windhoek, so that he can save our city and serve its people,” said Muchali.

The city has been without a substantive CEO since November 2020 after Robert Kahimise resigned to join the Central-North Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored).

The position was advertised, and five candidates were shortlisted for interviews to present their short- and long-term strategic plans publicly, the first time that City executive candidates were interviewed on a public platform. 

The public interviews were followed by a psychometric test. 

The five shortlisted candidates included NamWater executive Eino Mvula, deputy executive director for administration in the ministry of works Joyce Mukubi, researcher and entrepreneur Charmill Zamuee, Roads Authority CEO Lutombi and Moses Matyayi, who is the CEO of the Otjiwarongo municipality.

Lutombi, who scored the highest during the interviews, is allegedly not favoured by the management committee. 

According to the minutes of the interviews conducted by the City of Windhoek, Lutombi scored 80%, followed by Matyayi with 74% and Mvula with 71% in the interviews and psychometric tests.

2022-07-21  Loide Jason

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