97% of NCS candidates from one tribe – Nudo

Ellanie Smit,Augetto Graig
The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) has expressed serious concern regarding ethnic exclusion of shortlisted candidates by the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS).

The candidates were shortlisted out of 15 867 candidates – for 200 positions - after partaking in physical tests last week, and had to undergo written tests. Preference for the vacant posts is also given to athletes from selected sports codes, brass band players as well as truck drivers, the NCS said.

Nudo secretary-general Josef Kauandenge said it is apparent that more than 97% of those shortlisted are from only one ethnic group in the country. “We need to understand: How is it possible that out of 260 shortlisted candidates, less than 3% have surnames that represent the diversity of Namibia in terms of regional settlements?” He said this is highly disturbing and screams of ethnic exclusion.

Slap in the face

“We are not sure whether this outcome is by design or just pure coincidence; however, this is a serious slap in the face of the doctrine of ‘One Namibia, one nation’,” he said.

According to him, Namibia is experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates, especially amongst the youth, and it is alarming to note that very few young people with surnames not hailing from the north of the country have made it onto this shortlist. “We are really perplexed and take strong exception to the fact that this outcome is painting a bitter picture of ethnic exclusion and this seems to be man-made or engineered deliberately by those in charge of this exercise.”

Kauandenge added that it raises serious questions and red flags when only one ethnic group dominates. “Therefore, we call upon the NCS management to come out and clearly explain how this can be even remotely possible that candidates from other regions than the north could not make it on the shortlist.”

He added that the correctional service’s leaders owe the nation an explanation on how this is possible in a diverse and multi-cultural society. The NCS Facebook page was also ablaze with comments accusing it of being corrupt.

745 candidates

While the NCS said it will provide an official response in due time, its head of central staff, commissioner Michael Mulisa, said the list distributed on Tuesday is only for the Khomas Region. “Each region and each facility has its own list,” he explained.

According to him, the human resources directorate at NCS has since compiled all the relevant lists, and a total of 745 candidates made it through to the written tests nationwide. “I saw [Nudo's] press release and I have read it. We are working on [answering] those concerns. I have engaged the human resources directorate,” Mulisa explained.

Meanwhile, the pass rate for the written tests was also lowered yesterday from 70% to 50%. Now, if a candidate achieves 50% and passes, they return for an oral exam the next day.