PM clash with opposition over Kandjeke’s reappointment … as his term as Auditor General ends this Saturday

31 Mar 2018 07:00am

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila came to a head-on clash with members of the opposition over the reappointment of Auditor General, Junius Kandjeke, who warned that giving him a fourth term creates a culture where people cling on in office for too long at the expense of new blood. 

The reappointment will see Kandjeke commencing his duties with effect from the 1st of April and he will serve for another five years. 

Parliament adopted a motion to reinstate the AG and although the official opposition did not object it, its president, MacHenry Venaani said the fourth reappointment was worrisome. 

He said this elbows out younger people with ambitions to the same office and had to be done away with. 

“I have no objection to allow him another five years but I have to caution that don’t create a culture of staying in positions in perpetuity. He has already served three terms. Let others take on,” he said.  

Venaani however said Kandjeke had done his part in professionalizing the office of the Auditor General after having entered as a rookie.  

He said under his administration, audited reports came in timeously but that his reappointment should serve as the last time after which a new person has to be put in.

Swanu’s Usutuije Maamberua said although he did not object to Kandjeke’s reinstatement, but the process had been done in an inhumane, unprofessional and reckless manner given the short notice. 

“He has his own life to manage. The AG should be notified three to six months before the expiration of his term,” he said.

He went on to suggest that the office of the AG including all accountability institutions like the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Prosecutor General should not have renewable terms but should serve tenures. 

“We will have to look at the provisions of the Acts that establish those offices. Of course the dismal clauses have to remain the same so that how they performed should not be the basis upon which their contracts have to be extended,” he said. 

 Maamberua has also differed with the PM for suggesting that the ACC has to stop reporting to the executive but to the August House instead.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that was tantamount to eroding the integrity of the institutions by creating an impression that they were not executing their duties due to excessive overbearance and interference by the executive.

On the limiting of the tenure of the office holders of accountability institutions, the PM said due process will have to be followed.  

“There is an Audit Bill that is coming in which we can discuss whether to put limits,” she said.

The bill is meant to separate the functions of the Auditor General's Office from the existing State Finance Act. 

This also comes in the wake of Kandjeke himself having said that his office was not as independent as desired.  

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has been quoted as saying that the separation and the new law will be the foundation for the solid, transparent and efficient work of the Auditor General.

"In real terms we are still part of the Executive to a large extent," Kandjeke told 160 delegates from 12 of SADC's 14-member-states at a conference of parliamentarians serving on committees reviewing public accounts in 2006.

Meanwhile, Kandjeke was first appointed in 2003 for a five-year term on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission.