Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva Almost three years of internal fights amongst Ohangwena councillors to instate a Chief Regional Officer (CRO), the region will by the start of March finally appoint a new person in charge. The region is in its third year without a CRO. New Era is reliably informed Fillipus Shilongo whom some councillors rejected to be instated as CRO despite scoring the highest marks in two interviews to select a new head, will eventually start work on March 1. Chairperson of the regional council, Erickson Ndawanifa confirmed the appointment of a new CRO but refused to give further details. “It is true that the region has finally appointed a CRO, but the candidate will be disclosed at a further stage,” said Ndawanifa. The CRO position has been vacant since the former occupant Daniel Kashikola was elevated to the position of Deputy Minister of Safety and Security in March 2015 by President Hage Geingob. Since then Shilongo has been acting alternately as CRO. He came out tops during the first interview conducted in November 2015, but drama erupted thereafter, and a second round of interviews for the position was held in December where Shilongo again emerged victorious. Some councillors after the initial interviews were held had wanted to recruit a female candidate on grounds of affirmative action. This, despite a huge gulf that existed of marks of 26 between their preferred female candidate and that scored by Shilongo. In the second interview, New Era understands that there was a difference of about 30 marks between Shilongo and the runner-up, leaving the council with no other alternative but to recruit him. Last year, New Era reported that some councillors wrote two letters to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to have the third runner-up in the interview recruited for the post. The letters also led to a reduction of Shilongo’s scores, however the other candidate’s scores were not moderated. At the same time, New Era also reported that Shilongo was dragging the council to court for failing to recruit him. The letter addressed to council from Shilongo’s lawyer said the delay was intentional for reasons only known to the council. Currently, seven regions in the country are still without CROs, but it has come to light those positions are in the process of being filled. Regions without CROs are Ohangwena, Erongo, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Hardap and //Kharas; while the CRO for Kunene, George Kamseb has been on suspension with full benefits since October 2016. Kamseb was suspended on charges of tampering with tender processes, unauthorised expenditure of council funds and the appointment of consultants without the approval of the regional council. The Omaheke region, which has been without a CRO for the past four years, is also in the processing of finalising the recruitment of a new CRO as the then CRO’s term ended while on suspension. Pederius Tjihereko was on suspension for four years with full pay for alleged insubordination and failure to implement a council decision. The council in 2015 also appealed a ruling by the labour court to reinstate him as CRO and the matter was still with the courts at the end of last year.
2018-02-14 10:05:37 7 months ago