Political analysts have said that the reshuffling of Permanent Secretaries deprives public service of innovative growth and creates breeding ground for deadwood.
Analysts agreed that over the years government has created an atmosphere of reluctance in the work ethics of PSes as many have developed a notion that underperformance is acceptable by the government’s failure to replace PSes, even those who do not adequately execute their mandate.
“The government keeps depriving the nation of innovative ways to grow by constantly recycling the same people into positions that would benefit from fresh minds who will bring better ideas to the ministries” Political Analyst Phannuel Raapama said.
He said that although the ministries benefit from the institutional memory and understanding of government procedures to carrying out the job, it is not advisable to keep recycling the same people adding that it undermines government’s ability to appoint competent people into high government positions.
Raapama also accused government of being afraid of change adding that that is why the country still have top officials of retirement age.
“Namibia has a lot of talent but young and upcoming officials are deprived of using their talents because government refuses to give them a chance to prove themselves. Who do they expect to take over the government once they are gone?” Raapama asked.
Political analyst Hoze Riruako who shares the same sentiments said that government’s recycling trends of top officials is an expense to the nation adding that there is a need for new faces in top management in order to facilitate change.
“Its always the same faces year in year out. Despite underperformance and corruption allegations levelled against some of the PSes, the need for government to recycle top officials makes one question the adequacy of skills in the employment sector” he said.
Riruako also said that the reshuffling and recycling makes it hard for the PSes to be held accountable adding that their indiscretions are fast forgotten after they are moved to a new ministry.
Furthermore, another political analyst Joseph Diescho also spoke against the reshuffling and recycling of PSes saying that in creates room for reluctance.
Diescho also said that the term ‘Permanent Secretary’ has created the misconception that they cannot be replaced.
“It was my understanding that appointments are done on contractual basis, however PSes sue the government when they have been booted out of the system, even after their contracts have expired” he said adding that this is the kind of situation that makes people think that PSes are indeed permanent government employees.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that her office is busy working on a name change to remove the ‘Permanent’ of this misconception.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila last month announced the six new permanent secretaries and the redeployment of eight others.
Those who have been redeployed are: Malan Lindeque (from industrilisation to environment); Gabriel Sinimbo (youth to industrialisation; Simeon Negumbo (from environment to energy); Frans Sheehama (from State-Owned Enterprises Governance Council to public enterprises); Peter Amutenya (from director of fisheries to PS for land reform PS); Kahijoro Kahuure (from energy to the OPM).
Furthermore, among the new faces is the former director of education in the Ohangwena region, Sanet Steenkamp, who is the new permanent secretary at the ministry of education, replacing controversial Alfred Ilukena, who is now posted to the ministry of youth.
Labour commissioner Bro-Mathew Shinguadja took up office as the PS at the ministry of labour and deputy permanent secretary at the finance ministry, I-Ben Nashandi, is heading the poverty eradication ministry.
Deputy permanent secretary in the ministry of education Alfred van Kent has been promoted to PS in the ministry of higher education. Chief of National Development Advice in the ministry of economic planning Willem Goeiemann is at ministry of works to replacing Peter Mwatile, who was posted to the Office of the vice president.
Moses Maurihungirire, a former director of aquaculture in the ministry of fisheries, took over as the PS in the same ministry.
Other Permanent secretaries including those in the key ministries of finance and health kept their portfolios.