Fireworks are expected between the Board of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and its Chairperson, Ponhele ya France, after they passed a vote of no confidence and gave him 48 hours to respond to "several burning issues" before making a final move, writes Christof Maletsky in The Namibian.

 

Acting chairperson Frieda Shimbuli told a hastily convened media briefing in Windhoek yesterday afternoon that they will recommend Ya France's dismissal if he fails to respond in writing.

Ya France, however, termed the decision illegal.

"This is just old wine in new bottles. There is nothing new to what they did. It's no surprise to me. The whole thing is illegal because they are not the appointing authority," Ya France told The Namibian.

According to him certain individuals on the board have been working overtime to get rid of him.

"The only new element is the vote of no confidence, but I can only respond to the appointing authority. Not to them," he said.

The board accused Ya France of "unbecoming behaviour" after recent newspaper reports in which he claimed to have been dismissed by Information Minister Joel Kaapanda.

Shimbuli said she verified the claims with Kaapanda and was informed by the Minister that he had lost trust and confidence in Ya France after the chairperson went public with the claim.

"The chairperson did not receive a letter that his services were terminated," Shimbuli said.

She said the majority of the board members felt Ya France should have called an emergency meeting to discuss what transpired between him and the minister.

"This the chairman did not do.

This was a clear indication that the chairman undermined the authority of the NBC board members who are entrusted with the affairs of the corporation," she said.

Shimbuli said Ya France's "media circus" also showed he had no respect for the integrity of fellow board members.

She was referring to an earlier incident when an emotional Ya France informed the NBC television news crew that Kaapanda had dismissed him verbally on September 22.

Although Kaapanda denied the claim, The Namibian reported on a secret Cabinet document which the Minister had prepared and which recommended Ya France's dismissal because of irreconcilable differences.

Shimbuli said Ya France's actions of "discussing" NBC matters with the media without consulting them showed that he was not trustworthy.

They also claim that Ya France went on an unauthorised trip to the Ohangwena Region and claimed subsistence and travel allowances.

According to them, Ya France claimed he was going to the NBC offices in Rundu but never arrived there.

Another allegedly unauthorised trip was the one to the Heroes' Day celebrations in August last year,which The Namibian also reported on.

During that trip, Ya France had claimed allowances of N$7,24 per kilometre – amounting to a whopping N$11 584.

When The Namibian reported on the case in November last year, Ya France said it was a 'standard procedure' at most parastatals to claim such exorbitant amounts.

Shimbuli said board members need to set examples of good mentorship and leadership.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Namibian's website.