Rundu councillors make U-turn on CEO appointment

05 Jun 2013 10:30
RUNDU, 05 JUN (NAMPA) ? The town councillors who earlier refused to reappoint former Rundu Town Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Romanus Haironga, have made a U-turn on their decision.
Haironga told Nampa in an interview on Wednesday that the council issued him with an appointment letter on 10 May, stating that he could resume work on 01 August 2013.
No reasons were provided for the reversal of the town councillors? earlier decision.
The Rundu Town Council has been without a CEO since the beginning of November last year after the council?s management committee refused to renew Haironga?s five-year contract.
Interviews for the town council?s top post were held in November last year, and Haironga reapplied.
The former CEO was the highest scorer in those interviews, and the interviewing panel thus recommended that he be appointed into the position.
The management committee, however, allegedly turned the recommendation down.
The Rundu Town?s Deputy Mayor Bonny Kahare informed this reporter in April this year that although the interviewing panel recommended Haironga, the council?s management committee had its preferred candidate.
Kahare said the council wanted a CEO with a background in financial literacy, and who also has good working relations with the council.
Haironga on Wednesday stated that the council failed to provide him with reasons why they pushed his appointment date to August, while he was supposed to resume work soon after the outcome of the interviews.
The former Rundu CEO revealed that the town councillors decided on signing a settlement agreement with him, and he withdrew a labour case on condition that the town council would compensate him for loss of income during the period that he was unemployed because of their delay in reappointing him.
Kahare also confirmed to this news agency that Haironga is expected to resume work as CEO for the next five years on 01 August.
Asked why the council reversed their earlier decision not to reappoint him, the deputy mayor said he does not know why the decision was taken by his fellow councillors as he was in Portugal on an official trip when this was done.
He referred this reporter to the chairperson of the management committee, Johannes Muronga.
Muronga, however, refused to comment, saying he has ?issues? with this reporter over a story about an all-expenses-paid trip for councillors to China, sponsored by Chinese investor Stina Wu during July 2011.
The trip and subsequent awarding of prime land to that Chinese national at the town raised eyebrows amongst residents and local property developers, who accused the town council?s management of favouring foreign investors at the expense of locals.
The councillors, however, denied that the trip was a kickback.
Kahare further stated that Haironga acknowledged receiving the appointment letter, but confirmed that he is apparently claiming compensation for loss of income from 01 November last year.
He noted that the council has not yet discussed Haironga?s demands, saying there is nothing to discuss because his contract ended and he applied for it, just like everybody else.
The former Rundu Town Council CEO last year launched a case of unfair dismissal and unfair labour practices with the Office of the Labour Commissioner against his former employer, following the council?s alleged refusal to reappoint him as CEO.
A letter written by the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh dated 06 February 2013 and addressed to the chairperson of the Rundu Town Council stressed that ?it is ministerial policy that the recommendation of the interviewing committee on the filling of a vacant position be considered, unless there are really serious issues that prevent council from doing so?, saying this policy must be adhered to.
?In this case, Romanus Haironga was the highest scorer, and was thus recommended to be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer by the interviewing committee,? the minister wrote.
The letter also indicated that in case Haironga rejected the employment offer, the position had to be offered to Johannes Mukoya, who was the second-best candidate.
It further stated that the interviewing panel also recommended Haironga as he was the highest scorer, but the council recommended Athanasius Maghumbo, the third-placed candidate.
Maghumbo is the town council?s Strategic Executive for Finance and Information Technology (IT).
?Above all, council did not give any reason why the first and second-choice candidates were not considered. In the absence of any reason, I recommend that you appoint Romanus Haironga, candidate number one, to ensure the integrity of the process,? the Local Government Minister stressed.
Herman Haingura, the town council?s Strategic Executive for Corporate Services and Administration, is currently acting as CEO.