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Oniipa internship termination causes stir

2021-10-14  Obrien Simasiku

Oniipa internship termination causes stir
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Obrein Simasiku

The refusal to extend an internship of a trainee at the Oniipa Town Council has left council divided, while the community has now entered the fray to protest the decision. The dispute allegedly started after chief executive officer (CEO) Junius Jakob refused to grant an internship extension of three months to trainee Aili Shikongo, whose contract as well as two other interns’ ones lapsed on 31 August.

Shikongo was on an internship for 15 months, but she wanted an extension as she had unfinished projects to conclude, such as the one dealing with sanitary pads as well as the mayoral fund items.

The CEO’s refusal allegedly led to Shikongo appealing the decision and starting to lobby for support from councillors and other influential members of the community in an effort to force Jakob to grant her an extension.

These attempts have now left council divided as some are sympathising with Shikongo, while others are steadfast in their support of the decision to let her go for good. In a letter seen by New Era, Shikongo had to be issued with an eviction letter on 23 September after she continued to work at the town council, despite her contract having lapsed.

It was only after the services of a security company were called in that she handed over the keys as council accused her of trespassing and the unauthorised possession of its property.

“I was requested to provide a report of the sanitary pads programme, which I was spearheading through the office of the mayor. It’s not that I was refusing to leave. This report was requested, knowing that my contract expired. I thus had no choice but to continue reporting for work until it was done.

Also, I am waiting for a council resolution which sought to compel the CEO to reverse his decision. I feel I am being targeted because council allowed another intern to be at the institution for about three years. So, I don’t know what I have done that I can’t be accorded the same, despite having worked on a voluntary basis,” she said when contacted for comment, although she distanced herself from a planned demonstration this coming Friday.

In a letter, the CEO labelled Shikongo as the most contemptible and selfish person council has ever dealt with. “Her conduct is misleading and is causing disorder within the council and the entire community. Now, I am being drawn against the council and being threatened by community members because of her selfish actions,” lamented Jakob.

“Your internship period with council totalled 15 months, which is way excessive for normal work-integrated learning requirements. Yet, you want to extend your internship with another three months, which was declined. You appealed it, causing disorder in the administration of council by politicising this issue for motives only known to yourself,” he charged, saying such behaviour will deprive other equally deserving students and graduates.

The youth of Oniipa have since organised a protest to be held on Friday, in which they intend to address issues such as unemployment, favouritism, corruption related to tenders, ghost employees on the payroll and unfair labour practices. Others include inconsistent water charges and land allocations.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Oshikoto Youth Forum, Martin Antindi, also joined the fray and wrote a letter to mayor David Kambonde, instructing him to consider the extension of Shikongo’s internship by six months.

On his part, Kambonde acknowledged hearing about the matter, but declined to comment and referred all queries to the CEO.

2021-10-14  Obrien Simasiku

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