The rumblings and commotions lately within the National Housing Enterprise (NHE), especially as it relates to unilateralism and arbitrariness by the corporation’s governors culminating in them denying and depriving senior managers within the corporation the chance, if not the right/privilege to compete in filling the vacant position of chief executive officer (CEO), is mesmerising, dumbfounding, nonsensical if not completely against all the golden rules of good governance and management.
In fact, until the NHE board comes clean and explains why the aspiring senior managers were not given the chance to compete for the position of CEO, together with the candidate (s) headhunted, the matter would not only continue to defy logic but render the governors of the corporation not fit.
It looks like the option and concept of headhunting, in this instance, has been defined and interpreted in a manner making a mockery of the concept of good governance in the corporate world, and a travesty of the rights and freedoms of employees in this corporation, even if such employees may be managers – and ultimately justice.
It is incomprehensible that because one is a manager somehow one’s rights and freedoms are automatically suspended, if not forfeited. One is inclined to raise this issue because one has been observing an anti-union or anti-workers attitude, or employees’ tendencies in many corporations, including parastatals, to automatically and arbitrarily cancel the rights and freedoms of some employees upon them becoming part of management.
The right/freedom of belonging to a union of one’s choice is a constitutionally guaranteed right falling under Chapter 3 of the Namibian Constitution, which is about fundamental rights and freedoms.
Specifically protection of liberty. “No persons shall be deprived of personal liberty except according to procedures established by law,” reads the introduction to Article 7 of the said chapter of the Namibian Constitution, which is about the protection of liberty. In this instance such liberty can be interpreted to be the right to fundamental freedom, especially under Article 21(e) freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political parties.
One only wonders whether corporations that have been preventing their managers from being active in unions have been aware of this constitutional provision, let alone if they ever have been relying on any legal instrument to stand on as the Constitution well demands? Other than purely invoking the so-called conventional corporate practice.
But back to the NHE matter – one cannot but also make reference to Article 21 that “all persons shall have the right to: (g) (j) “practise any profession, or carry on any occupation, trade or business.” In the case of NHE, and the blatancy not to grant its senior managers the chance to be considered and allowed to compete for the position of CEO, one cannot wait to hear from the NHE board what law (internal to NHE’s HR best practices or external for that matter) gives the board the right to such unilateralism and arbitrariness to exclude senior managers from the process of competing with other candidates of its headhunting choice.
Also, if the board has been in the position to willfully have excluded these senior managers from the process, then they are not the ones duly to have led the process because they have shown themselves not to be above board but prejudiced. The process in this regard must have been left to independent consultants to lead. As much as the board may have decided to headhunt, this cannot and does not mean at the exclusion of internal candidates who are qualified, if not over-qualified. If one has to overstretch, or vice versa oversimplify the concept of headhunting, there’s no way it can mean the exclusion of internal candidates who are qualified.
The reason that seems to be readily advanced why internal candidates may have been excluded, is actually not the exigencies of headhunting but the prejudice of the board against some of the internal candidates. It is obvious that the board was prejudiced against some of these internal candidates. In this regard the board seems to have been a judge in its own cause, which is against the rule of natural justice.
This disqualifies it from having handled the process. Not to mention the seeming illegality and injustice of the arbitrary exclusion of the internal candidates. That aside, still if there’s anything within the corporate regimes and the realm of governance that may have legitimately dictated the board to act the way they have, one cannot wait for information on such an instruction? One cannot also wait with bated breath to hear the substance of the matter from the Labour Commissioner. Especially now that the case of Uazuva Kaumbi was dismissed in the High Court on technicalities rather than substance as it seems.