Several Eye NBC’s Top Post

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK The position of NBC’s director general that fell vacant last year following the resignation of Gerry Munyama has attracted several applicants, among them former and serving employees at the public broadcaster. An authoritative source that cannot be identified on professional grounds said the board at the broadcaster is expected to announce the new NBC boss by March. Among the applicants for the top post at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation is Stanley Simataa, the de facto NBC Director General, seen as a favourite by many. Other applicants standing a fair chance are: Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, NBC’s General Manager for Radio Services; Claudia Iikela, the General Manager for Television; Mushitu Mukwame, the Editor, News; and former Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Bob Vezera Kandetu, presently an entrepreneur. Kandetu was apparently advised by some people to apply for the key position. Mathew Gowaseb, an advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister was also reportedly told to stake his claim on the position but he has yet to express an interest, said an insider. Former manager for local programmes at the NBC Stanley Similo, currently the human resources manager at the First National Bank (FNB) and Penny Uukunde, previously the NBC’s Controller: News and Current Affairs but who has been in the ranks of the thousands of jobless after she quit the NBC following a fall-out with Mu-nyama, and Vincent Mwange are also among several eying the executive post. Mwange also had a stint at the public broadcaster before quitting and joining the Ministry of Defence, where he served as a senior spokesperson before opting for another job at the house of review, the National Council. Dr Umo Kakujaha, Dr Chris Hoveka and Dr Rukee Tjingaete are among the others who have applied for one of the most stressful executive positions in Namibia. Others on the lengthy list of applicants numbering a record 20 include Caroline Dunaiski, a former manager at Air Namibia and Milka Mungunda, holding a managerial position at the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) but who is also one of the directors at One Africa TV. The One Africa TV position could disadvantage its director’s application because of the perceived conflict of interest. Several sources said despite the various professionals being interested in the top position, Simataa stands a good chance. Though he has only been acting as NBC boss for a relatively short period, say insiders, he has gained the confidence of a demoralised workforce. They say he is “trustworthy”, “professional” and “results-oriented”. Whoever will land the hot seat at the broadcaster would have to contend with a highly demotivated workforce and will have to stem the present tide of resignations, particularly in the finance and technical departments. Apart from a myriad of administrative problems, it costs the NBC N$300 000 each month in interest charges alone on its N$30-million bank overdraft. – In a related development, Rubben Prinz who was suspended last year from his position as General Manager: Technical Services was recently hauled before a disciplinary hearing that was chaired by Norman Tjombe. His suspension came as a result of tender irregularities. Sources revealed the evidence against Prinz is so overwhelming that there is a strong probability the police will be called in to investigate him on the suspect tenders. New Era was also informed that another forensic audit is underway investigating the issue of travelling allowances, a suspect vehicle lease agreement, and tender allocations particularly the one involving a security gate that cost millions of dollars, among others.