Conrad Lutombi, who was the frontrunner to become Windhoek’s CEO, has threatened to seek a legal review of the recruitment process should the City of Windhoek go ahead with the re-advertisement of the position.
Lutombi said this during a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday after the management committee of the council submitted a report recommending that the process be re-run as it was apparently replete with gross irregularities.
“My position is that I do not want to speculate based on media reports as I am still waiting for the City to inform me in writing on whether I was successful or not. If I am not successful, I will seek legal recourse to review the process,” he stated.
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 as he is believed to be a staunch Swapo supporter.
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.
It was recommended that Lutombi be offered the job and should he reject it, the position be offered to Matyayi.
Lutombi told New Era that he applied for the job just like any other person, was shortlisted and interviewed, and now he is waiting for the outcome of the interview.
“For me, the process is still ongoing. I don’t want to speculate. I was not formally informed. But I have followed all the procedures required for the position and the recruitment process in particular. Hence, I am waiting for my results formally, not the ones I read from the media,” he stated.
Management committee chairperson Larandja Ndeshihafela said the position will be re-advertised within the next three months as the City is yet to determine the required criteria for the position.
She reiterated that the management committee exercised its powers in terms of the recruitment and selection regulations for local authorities by resolving that the recruitment process of the CEO was replete with gross irregularities, and further resolved that there should be a re-run of the whole process.
“The process was, to say the least, rigged and corrupt in form and substance. What is now left for the management committee is to table its report to council on its decision for noting, as no recommendations were made to the council to appoint a CEO, and to re-run the recruitment process as a matter of urgency,” she said.
Contacted for comment, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM)’s Clementia Hanases said it is not fair that the position has to be re-run if the procedures of the process were entirely approved by the management committee (MC).
“Everything in that process was brought to the management committee, where I also served as a member, and it was confirmed and approved until the stage of the recommendation of the successful candidate. Why will you approve the process, and then later the outcome has irregularities? This is not fair. Now, what criteria are they going to use to find a perfect candidate other than the transparent one?” she asked.
Hanases indicated that she is not happy with the recommendation, as it implies that the management committee has their preferred person who was not part of the previous interviewees.
Affirmative Repositioning councillor Job Amupanda has attributed the recommendation to corruption.
“That is corruption! There was no irregularity, as the process was transparent,” he said before the call cut due to a poor network connection.
Swapo councillor Fransina Kahungu said she was not present when the report was presented to the council. However, the decision of the management committee is protected by the Recruitment and Selection Regulations for Local Authorities.
However, Swapo chief whip in the council Queen Kamati said “council has not discussed the contents of the MC report on this matter. Once we have a full appreciation of the reasons that prompted the MC to recommend for the process to be restarted, we will pronounce our position on this matter.”
Picture : (Lutombi)