Some SADC secretariat employees have taken a step to blow the whistle on the maladministration they allege is grappling the regional body headquarters and the subsequent misconduct happening as a result of bad decisions, nepotism and favouritism done by members of the secretariat.
Among those fingered in this alleged wrong doing is the SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
In a statement penned by the concerned SADC employees, who simply call themselves “group of concerned staff” and passed to this publication, they accuse Dr Tax of first employing divide and rule tactics on staff based on their nationalities, which they say was followed by fake transformation process aimed at removing certain individuals from their posts. Now, they claim the situation is getting even worse.
“Most of the times we resorted to remain silent but some of the things are so appalling, shocking and shameful that they should not be done by someone of higher profile as the executive secretary but here in SADC it is sadly happening. Nothing is so rotten and appalling than seeing the most senior administrator at the secretariat interfering with the recruitment process in order to favour some candidates into being recruited at the expense of others,” said the group of concerned staff.
At the centre of the group's concerns is the decision by the SADC Secretariat to overlook the recruitment of three Tanzanian nationals who had applied, and scored high marks for posts which were advertised in June, 2017. They accuse Dr Tax of reserving the posts for some candidate personally known to her. The posts were that of Information Systems Officer x 2 and that of Procurement Officer X 2.
The concerned group alleges that having completed all the interview procedures and computed the total interview score for each candidate two Tanzanians ranked highest out of the two Information Systems Officer Posts which were advertised in June 2017 and one ranked highest out of the two Procurement Officer Posts. Final interviews were done in Gaborone in June 2018.
The SADC rule, they explained, is that a candidate with the highest total marks accumulated during the interview process is selected for offer of employment given that the country of nationality has sufficient quota points remaining. A respective country’s quota points diminishes in the manner of First In; First Out.
According to the concerned group, despite the fact that Tanzania had sufficient quota points remaining to accommodate them for offers of employment for SADC, surprisingly, these Tanzanians were not among those who were given the offers of employment for SADC secretariat.
“We know that as a result of giving the offers of employment to only some of the Tanzanians instead of all those who deserved leaves Tanzania with reserved quota points which can be filled in during the near-future recruitments. We further know that this scheme was purposefully engineered and supervised by the Executive Secretary herself in order to reserve sufficient quota points to be utilised by other Tanzanian candidates who are personally known to her,” read the statement
The group further alleges in the statement that a number of Tanzanians are already shortlisted at the national level for various posts which were advertised in a batch in May 2018 (Vacancy No 2 of 2018), and that some of them are personally known to Tax with some already having worked with her at the SADC Secretariat.
“Madame - Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax is fighting to bring these individuals who are personally known to her into Secretariat at the expense of the Tanzanian candidates for the mentioned posts above who are supposed to have already secured the posts previously advertised in June 2017. This rotten scheme smells favouritism, nepotism and corruption as well and it is worse because the Executive Secretary herself is the principal architect and supervisor of its implementation,” they alleged.
The SADC Executive Secretary has however rubbished the allegations made by the “group of concerned staff”, saying she is not aware of the alleged misconducts happening as a result of bad decisions, nepotism and favouritism done by members of the secretariat most notably her.
In relation to Information Systems Officers and Procurement Officers Dr Tax said she is not aware of Tanzanian nationals who are said to have ranked highest, and that no Tanzanian was appointed to either of those positions.
Dr Tax also refuted claims made by the group that Tanzania had sufficient quota points remaining to accommodate offers of employment for SADC. “Tanzania has exhausted her quota points, as such, there are no quota points that can be reserved for Tanzania,” she said.
Elaborating on the SADC recruitment process Dr Tax pointed out that, all recruitments for all candidates, from all members States are done in line with SADC rules and procedures and that recruitments for Directors are done by SADC Member States, and for senior officers and officers by respective directorates/units under the coordination of Directorate of Human Resources and Administration, and supervision of the Deputy Executive Secretary - Cooperate Affairs. “The recruitment process is transparent, involving Member States, as well as, a number of SADC Secretariat's officials. The Executive Secretary oversees and approves at various stages of the recruitment process in line with SADC rules,” she said.