NIP board ignores Shangula’s CEO appointment

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE Namibia Institute of Pathology intends to re-advertise the vacant position of chief executive officer after one of the two people shortlisted for an interview for the post failed to impress.

The NIP shortlisted Christoph Hikuam and Evelyn Breuer and invited them for a second round of interviews on 12 March, after they were interviewed for the first time towards the end of last year, where Breuer scored higher than Hikuam.

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Following the first round of interviews, Breuer scored 69% while Hikuam got 63%. She was then recommended for the post to Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula, pending a Cabinet submission to endorse the appointment, but Shangula allegedly declined to appoint her, saying the board should instead appoint Hikuam.

When the new board took over, they called the two for further interviews, but Breuer rejected the invitation, saying the process was among others aimed at humiliating her.

Hikuam was interviewed, but did not impress and this forced the board to re-advertise the position.

“Dr Shangula requested the board via the chairperson (of the previous board of directors, Diina Shuuluka) to revise the recommendation to appoint the candidate who came second in the selection matrix to be NIP CEO, based on NamWater psychometric assessment outcome’s recommendation,” internal documents indicate.

Contacted for comment this week, Breuer said that she has not been appointed, as recommended by the previous board, because of “corruption.

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“You might be well aware that NIP recruitment process was concluded by the previous legitimate board, pending Cabinet submission by the minister of health and social services. Surprisingly, I received an invitation to be re-assessed without providing valid reasons. I felt that such process was among others to either humiliate me or use me as a decoy to justify the preferred candidate of the minister.

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“It is also my view that the new NIP board cannot simply set aside the resolution of the previous legitimate board without a substantive administrative reason that could even result in punishable measures by those involved.

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I declined to be used as a decoy so as to save my reputation as a professional.

“Appointments not based on meritocracy, but oligarchy governs,” she said.

According her curriculum vitae, Breuer has 10 years’ experience in the leadership, research, project management, as well as managing organisations operating in the health sector, particularly laboratory analysis, capacity building, programme design and development, financial management, as well as human resources in the NGO sector, community-based organisation, government, universities, as well as in the corporate environment.

She holds two Master’s degrees: one in Business Administration and one in Biomedical Technology. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in Health Education and Promotion (Public Health) and hopes to graduate with a PhD this year.

Hikuam holds a Doctoral degree in Biomedical Technology and is currently doing research on a tuberculosis vaccine initiative.

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Hikuam, who according to sources familiar with the interview process performed poorly in the psychometric assessment when he was interviewed for the second time, told Confidente this week that he was aware that NIP would re-advertise the position as he had been informed that he had been unsuccessful in his application.

According to the NIP advertisement for the CEO post, the institute is looking for someone with a relevant degree in Public Health or a Master’s degree in business management. They wanted a “Minimum of nine years relevant working experience, of which five years should be an executive management level,” according to the advert.

Kalumbi this week said he was not aware that NIP was considering re-advertising the position.

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“I don’t know,” he said briefly.

Contacted for comment, NIP board chairperson Bryan Eiseb confirmed that the board decided to re-advertise the post because it was not satisfied with the performance of the only candidate interviewed for the post. He said the acting CEO, Dr David Uirab, would hold the position until a new substantive CEO has been appointed.