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The towns of Otjiwarongo and Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region and Outjo in the Kunene Region are still without Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).

CEOs are the accounting officers at town councils and are charged with overall oversight of council operations.

These local authorities, however, had been without substantive CEOs for a considerable period, and as Faith Sankwasa from Otjozondjupa reports, little or nothing is being done to appoint CEOs.

The three councils have not had substantive heads for months, with the council making use of acting CEOs.

At the Otjiwarongo Municipality, no CEO has been appointed since Moses Matyayi left office in July 2023 to join the Windhoek Municipality as CEO.

The advertisement for a CEO at Otjiwarongo attracted 47 applicants, of whom five were shortlisted.

However, confusion arose during the selection process, with calls to re-evaluate the applications by December 2023.

Otjiwarongo Mayor Gottlieb Shivute explains that "the council is resolved to appoint the new reevaluation committee; henceforth,  that will continue with the interviews, and the dates will be communicated in due course. That is exactly where we are standing now. The other issues will be premature for me to comment on because the process is still with the committee. Until such a time that it's ready for the public domain, then I will be able to comment on what I want to say. There are actually two candidates that have emerged."

Grootfontien Municipality is also without a CEO, following the suspension of Kisco Sinvula in March 2022 and a contract subsequently terminated in May 2023 over irreconcilable differences and allegations of corruption against the CEO.

Since Sinvula left, the process to find a new CEO at Grootfontien has yet to start.

Calls made to the town council's public relations office confirmed councillors are yet to sit and decide on the way forward.

A first council meeting for the year is expected to take place next week, where the vacant CEO position may be discussed.

Another CEO position yet to be filled is that of Outjo Municipality in Kunene Region.

The position was left vacant after Joseph |Urib's acting contract was abruptly cancelled.

Urib had been at the helm of the council for over two decades until his retirement in December 2022.

However, the council extended his contract twice: in October 2022 and April 2023.

This led to protests by community members in the town in demand of |Urib's removal. This was followed by the termination of |Urib's acting tenure in August last year. A legal battle, which is yet to be concluded, ensued as a result of the termination.

Questions sent to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development on January 22 on the current situation of the appointments of the CEO and the outcome of legal battles at Outjo went unanswered.

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Faith Sankwasa