17 December 2012

Namibia: New Era in Final Stages of Appointing New CEO

THE race for the post of chief executive officer of New Era newspaper has been reduced to three contenders, who are either current or former employees of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

The Namibian understands that the shortlist includes Audrin Mathe, the chief news and programming officer at the NBC, John Shigwedha, the manager: strategic communications at NamWater, and Stanley Shanapinda, CEO of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN).

All the candidates have worked at the national broadcaster at some point in their careers.

The appointment has been delayed because it needs approval by Cabinet, which held its last meeting for the year last week.

Board chairperson Ben Mulongeni would not confirm or deny that they had approached various candidates.

"I cannot comment on things I don't know," he said, adding that the process was in an advanced stage.

Various sources said the lack of a market-related pay package was costing them the opportunity to get the best candidate.

The Namibian understands that the board has approached some of the shortlisted candidates, but the pay package is stopping them from getting their preferred choice.

The company is said to be offering less money than what is currently being earned by some of the candidates.

New Era has been without a CEO since last year when Sylvester Black's contract was not renewed. The newspaper also has been without an editor since founding editor Rajah Munamava bowed out in July. The news editor, Chrispin Inambao, has been serving as acting editor.

Efforts to get comment from the three candidates were unsuccessful because their phones went unanswered.

Jeremy Cloete, who is the finance manager at the paper, is the acting CEO.

Before moving to the regulatory authority for telecommunications and broadcasting services, Shanapinda was the head of legal services and company secretary at Telecom Namibia.

He was also a current affairs presenter on NBC's 'Talk of The Nation', a show that was also anchored by Mathe previously.

Mathe, who currently presents 'Inside Politics' on NBC, was previously the head of corporate communications at the Roads Authority.

John Shigwedha presented a music show called 'Afro Connection' on national television before moving to NamWater.

State-owned media houses - the NBC and New Era - this year came under heavy criticism from several members of parliament for alleged "pathetic" and selective coverage of official events.

One of such speakers was Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana who even went to the extent of suggesting that the government stop funding New Era if it does not serve the purpose for which it was established.

"We should not continue to fund New Era if the newspaper is against the government. Let us abolish New Era and strengthen the Southern Times newspaper. They (New Era) can go private if they wish," she said.

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