Ongwediva-Half the regions in the country are currently without a chief regional officer (CRO), a situation deemed to affect the implementation of development projects.
This was confirmed by the director of regional, local government and traditional authorities coordination, Lameck Uyepa.
The affected regions are Ohangwena, Kunene, Erongo, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Hardap and //Kharas.
The Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Hardap and //Kharas regions are in the process of advertising and recruiting for the positions because their office-bearers’ terms of office ended between late last year and this year.
Apart from the four, Kunene and Omaheke’s CROs are on suspension with full pay.
George Kamseb was suspended in October last year on alleged charges of tampering with tender processes, unauthorised expenditure of council funds and the appointment of consultants without the approval of the regional council.
Topping the list is Pederius Tjihoreko who has been on suspension for almost four years for alleged insubordination and failure to implement a council decision. The labour court had in 2015 ordered council to reinstate him, but the council has since appealed the ruling and the case remains pending.
Uyepa said the matter is still with the court.
The Ohangwena Region has also been without a CRO for almost three years.
“There seems to be a deadlock between the council and the recommendations from the public but it should be finalised soon,” Uyepa indicated.
New Era on Wednesday reported that the acting CRO of Ohangwena, Fillipus Shilongo, intends suing the regional council for alleged favouritism and nepotism for wanting to instate a low-scoring candidate in interviews held two years ago. Uyepa said the absence of an accounting officer does not necessarily affect the operations of the council but has detrimental consequences in implementing developmental projects.
He said operational decisions are taken at council level and as such should not affect the operations of the council.
“Now if you have a staff complement that does not have a leader who should spearhead the implementation you obviously will have some problems with implementation of council decisions,” said Uyepa.
He maintained a CRO’s mandate is to implement council decisions, a job that those in the acting position should take up. He said those acting in the absence of a permanent CRO are mandated and empowered to implement council resolutions.
But while that may be the case, not all acting CROs assume full power and as such are reluctant to act on certain issues because they are not full occupants of such position. “Where there are active staff members acting then implementation can go on unhindered. Where you have people having other reasons not to perform they may use the excuse that they are not substantive holders of the position not to perform,” said Uyepa.