Namibia: Otavi Mayor Defends the Appointment of Junior Staff to Acting CEO Position

The Otavi town council has denied any wrongdoing in terms of the appointment of a junior staff member to the position of acting chief executive officer (CEO) for a period of three months.

Council this year created a position of human resource manager and appointed Ernst Gaoab the Human Resource officer to act in it.

Gaoab's prompt promotions raised eyebrows among employees and residents of Otavi who are now accusing the council of creating a position that was never in the structure just to pave a way for Gaoab to the acting CEO position.

An insider at the Otavi town council told The Namibian, the appointment was wrong as Gaoab is as human resource officer and there are other senior staff members that qualify to act in the position.

"A junior staff can never be a CEO even in an acting capacity. We have two senior managers (Finance and Technical) and one of them should have been the ideal person to act instead of Gaoab. This has never happened in any organisation, according to my knowledge," the insider said.

Otavi mayor, George Garab confirmed the appointment of Gaoab as acting (CEO) on 27 April this year.

"Council appointed Gaoab as an acting human resources manager on 23 January 2020 as per council resolution and further decided to appoint him as acting CEO," Garab said.

He pointed out that Gaoab is a senior employee with a proven track record of good governance and wealth of experience in human resources and senior management level.

"He has experience of 23 years in governance at the local authority level. We must bear in mind that Gaoab was appointed as the acting town clerk after the resignation of the then town clerk in 2004 and served until 2006," Garab explained.

Gaoab, according to Garab also acted CEO of Otavi from 2008 until 2010 until council appointed Moses Matyayi to the position.

He added that after Matyayi's resignation last year, the technical manager as the most senior official was approached to act but decline due to health reasons. The current finance and asset manager was then appointed to act for a period three months from January 2020 until 21 April 2020.

On the 17th March, before leaving office, the former Minister of Urban and Rural development Dr Peya Mushelanga had instructed the Otavi town council to fill the vacant position of CEO by the end of April. Garab says they did not ignore the directive as they were pre-occupied with the COVID-19 pandemic activities.

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