7 March 2018

Namibia: Appointment of Acting Village Secretary Ruffles Feathers

Kamanjab — The appointment of George Mazanbani as the acting CEO of Kamanjab Village Council has ruffled feathers as some senior officers felt they were overlooked after Pieter Ludwig Gurirab's five-year term as the village secretary ended on January 30.

Councillors took a resolution to appoint Mazanbani as the acting secretary at its ordinary meeting held on January 19.

Those who were apparently overlooked are Aina Embashu who is an accountant, and technical clerk Jacobus Namaseb. During Gurirab's absence from office, Namaseb acted as village secretary but Mazanbani, who is his junior, has now taken over the levers of power in running the show.

"Namaseb was acting during most of the time when Gurirab was away and his junior is now acting in that capacity, while there are other senior officials at the village council," revealed a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The source added that those who belong to UDF or are perceived to be its supporters are being sidelined at the Kamanjab Village Council. Mazanbani's appointment is believed to be on the basis of him being a Swapo member.

When contacted by New Era, Gurirab responded: "I am not going to sue them. This is not the end of the world, besides you people are like that in Kunene Region."

Gurirab, when asked why his contract was terminated earlier than February, referred this reporter to the chairperson of the Kamanjab Village Council, Niklaas Hendricks.

After Swapo wrested power from the UDF at the town during the 2014 elections, sources claim staff belonging to UDF are being systematically victimised.

Hendricks said Gurirab's contract ended and had nothing to do with a political witch-hunt.

"He (Gurirab) went to the Office of the Labour Commissioner but he did not attend the hearing last month," Hendricks said. A hearing was held on February 16 but neither Gurirab nor his lawyer were in attendance. Hendricks however said Gurirab is welcome to reapply for the position of village secretary if he wants to but it will still be advertised.

According to sources within the village council, Mazanbani's appointment has divided councillors from both the UDF and Swapo, as the chairperson Hendricks (Swapo) and UDF's Wyclif Goraseb voted against Mazanbani's appointment as they believed there were others who were more senior than him. Embashu could have been appointed as acting secretary but her behaviour towards others was a reason she did not get their support.

Hendricks also explained that the person appointed as village secretary does not get an acting allowance or even a car or cellphone benefit.

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