Namibia like any other Southern African Development Community is faced with a rather dire situation in terms of electricity supply emanating primarily from the fact the country is a net importer of power. In the past 26 years, the country has not come up with concrete measures to liberate itself from the overreliance on imported power from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and sometimes the Democratic republic of Congo.
Ideally the country’s industrial expansion agitations are easy held back if there is not guarantee on the supply of power in the future. It is imperative that Namibia just like any other country is very serious about growing its industry, making the economy competitive and eventually achieving the economic blue print of Vision 2030, power becomes an essential.
Sitting on laurels
The Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze however being the effective minister that he has been since taking over seems to be laxing and not realising the gravity of the situation. The country’s power utility NamPower is flying on auto pilot with an acting Chief Executive Officer. This is a potentially dangerous situation bearing in mind that the person in an acting capacity is hamstrung on making decisions. The state utility has not appointed the executive Managing Director since instituting interviews late last year. This is despite the fact that the Board of the power utility has already made recommendations to the Minister about appointing the only sole candidate who passed the interview. Ironically the only candidate is the acting MD who excelled beyond everyone in the interviews.
This situation leaves a lot to be desired and has the potential to raise eyebrows. One would not understand why such an important appointment would take that long. The general understanding is that the Minister of Mines upon receiving the recommendations should have tabled the name of the winning candidate for approval. Unfortunately since receiving such recommendations Kandjoze has not yet made the next move. Whether the minister has a solid reason for not going to cabinet or finalising the appointment of the Managing Director at NamPower reality is that the longer he takes the worse it is for the country.
There is even questions that the Minister is not very keen on making the appointment based on tribal overtones. Ideally this is not the Kandjoze that we know because we believe as a minister he has never stood so low to hold a key appointment because somebody is just not from the favourable tribe.
NamPower is a state asset and never at once should its operations which drive the economy be muddled by tribalism ethnicity or race. Could it be that Kandjoze is not eager to appoint the winning candidate because he is still making his decisions? While the rumour meal from the corridors of power certainly fills the space and makes everyone talk we would believe that Kandjoze needs to make the relevant decision and finalise the appointment of the MD. Whoever the board has settled for in this case the acting MD should have started working and driving the power utility forward.
In corporate Governance principles the Board has the right to appoint and recommend to the minister who in turn should engage with his colleagues in cabinet to make sure that the country moves forward. Certainly there questions consistently and rightfully so.
Is it imperative that ethnicity, race, tribalism should never be ahead of national integrity or prosperity so ideally research or whatever is in the rumour mills is something that a right thinking journalist would like not to believe. In fact we expect the Minister to act and act swiftly and appoint the winning candidate at NamPower perhaps we can put the lid on issues to do with power distribution once and for all. We would also want to believe that the Minister would not be overshadowed by rumour overtones that he is deliberately sitting on giving his blessings to the appointment of the Managing Director.