A recipe for disaster at WASA

THE EDITOR: I read with shock the announcement that the chairman of WASA’s board of directors will also assume the role and function of executive director/CEO, a decision taken by the Cabinet.

Now, for any commonsense person and junior management student and practitioner, the roles and functions of the board and the CEO are completely different and for the right reasons.

In a nutshell, the board is to set goals and make overall policies/strategies for an organisation as per the directions from the shareholder(s), in this case the Government/Cabinet/minister. The CEO is to then develop and implement mechanisms to achieve the goals/policies/strategies provided to him. Critically, the board is also required to review the performance of the CEO and the company.

When we have the same person being on the board (in fact the chairman) and also being the head executioner, that is, the CEO, you are playing with foolishness. It is person A reviewing the performance of himself. This in 2021. No wonder we are the laughing stock.

There must be a clear separation between the board and the senior management – no questions here.

So how will the board correct the CEO when it is the same person heading the board and running the operations of the company? It just can’t happen effectively and efficiently. This creates room for corruption, mismanagement, lack of adequate governance and accountability and the works. It’s a recipe for disaster.

The bigger question is: how did Cabinet with all of its experts approve this damning relationship? It’s certain that it was ill-advised. If it wanted to replace the acting CEO, it could have done so without putting the chairman of the board in that position or it could have asked the chairman to resign and take up the CEO position, but certainly not hold on to both positions. This is an inexplicable move at WASA.

We all know that the CEO’s position is the significantly more financially lucrative position to hold, so I guess why not eh? Did he recommend himself for the CEO job?

These “high-level” people should have more individual credibility to say the very least. What message are they sending to the rest of staff at the company when the top starts off in an unethical way? We can expect employee morale and production to further decrease, for which the population will suffer for this essential resource of water.


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"A recipe for disaster at WASA"

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