Government this week announced the long overdue reshuffle of top accounting officers and administrators of various ministries. The re-allocation of permanent secretaries (PS’s), which the government prefers to call “re-assignment, redeployment and re-alignment,” has baffled political analysts. Questions are being asked about why competency, accountability and transparency were not taken into account in view of the serious allegations of underperformance and non-performance leveled against some PS’s.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula announced the reshuffling of PS’s in a statement released on Tuesday, in which he quoted part of President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s State of the Nation address delivered in April. “Our focus is on eradication of poverty, provision of adequate social amenities to all our people, education and training, as well as the strengthening of the economy so that it can generate more jobs for greater prosperity of all Namibians. I have directed all offices, ministries and agencies to ensure that all planned projects and programs are implemented on time and within budget.” The quote seems to ignore the serious allegations of corruption leveled against some of the PS’s implicated over the last decade.
Political analyst, Dr Andrew Niikondo, said it was within the power of PM’s office, as the administrative arm of the state, to re-assign PS’s as it is within its mandate to monitor the performance of public servants. “From the academic point of view, it is always best if a person with specialised expertise is placed in a suitable position. For some unknown reason, officials were put in positions in which they have no expertise.”
“The re-alignment of PS’s is not because of corruption or under-performance. It was done because of the recommendations from the Public Service Commission. Governments and the private sector in general, sometimes apply a human resource management tool, known as job-rotation, to encourage those appointed to gain experience in certain fields, which makes it easy to appoint ministers in future. In this case, I don’t know whether that was the strategy.” PM Angula said that on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission he approved the re-shuffling of key accounting officers (PSs) with effect from the 1st of June 2012.
The PS of Agriculture, Andrew Ndishishi has been moved to the Ministry Health, Erastus Negonga to Gender and Child Welfare, George Simataa to Labour, Sirkka Ausiku to Local Government, Dr Ndeutala Angolo to Safety and Security, Kahijoro Kahuure to Mines and Energy, Peter Mwatile to Works and Transport, Samuel Goagosseb to the Office of the President, Dr Peingodjabi Shipoh to Justice and Steve Katjiuanjo to the Ministry of Youth.
PS’s not affected by the reshuffling are those of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Defense, Veterans, Home Affairs, Finance, Education, Lands, Information, Fisheries and the Prime Minister’s office. It has not yet established whether the re-organisation will extend to Ministers and their deputies.