…President accused of blocking Ngurare’s reappointment to NamWater board
…As Mutorwa plays the silent game
The presidency has denied claims that President Hage Geingob blocked Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa from appointing Dr. Elijah Ngurare onto the new NamWater board.
Well-placed sources have tipped The Patriot that Ngurare was one of the candidates who were identified by Mutorwa to serve on the new NamWater board, but his nomination was terminated.
The Patriot has learned that Ngurare applied to be reappointed to the board when his term expired-and although he made it through Mutorwa’s selection- Geingob allegedly blocked the appointment even before it could reach Cabinet.
The presidency flatly denied the accusations however, with the spokesperson indicating that “the President will never stoop so low”.
“From our end I can say that the President will not stoop that low to get involved in pettiness as described. All energies are devoted at the Presidency toward serving the Namibian people and delivering on the promises contained in the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” Press Secretary Albertus Aochamub said yesterday.
He added that: “Above all else, there is an established governance process that deals with appointing of directors at SOEs which he fully upholds and enforces at all times.”
Mutorwa refused to get drawn into discussions regarding the matter, and although he confirmed next week’s inauguration of the new board, he did not divulge the names.
“I will answer any questions related to the board next week when I inaugurate the new board. As for claims that I was blocked from appointing Ngurare, go and ask those who stand accused of this blockage, not me because I do not know of any,” said Mutorwa.
Mutorwa said “his[Ngurare] qualifications in the area of water is known and that is why I appointed him on the previous board.”
Ngurare’s qualifications include a Standard 10 National Certificate (Cape Education system) at Kolin Foundation Secondary School, Erongo Region, Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Water Resources Management (USA), Masters of Law in International and Comparative Water Law (Scotland, UK) and a PhD in Environmental Law (Ireland).
When approached for comment as to what he makes of claims that Geingob blocked his appointment, Ngurare opted to evade dwelling on the matter and instead thanked Mutorwa for appointing him onto the previous board.
“I want to thank Minister John Mutorwa for the opportunity he afforded me over the years to make a contribution to the water sector as a board member of NamWater. I have learned a lot.”
“I want to thank him in particular for encouraging me to apply when the board term ended in January 2017. I thank him for having shortlisted me. I understand perfectly that it is a difficult situation to be in when your boss holds a different view,” Ngurare said.
He also congratulated the new board and wished them success for their new assignment.
Defenders of Geingob have however rubbished claims that Geingob ordered Ngurare’s removal because of their differences.
A senior party member who spoke under anonymity said: “Ngurare is currently working for UNAM which is a public institution, he started working there while Geingob was President, why did Geingob not block that if he dislikes him so much?”
The member also accused Geingob’s detractors of using every opportunity to discredit the President adding that “they[Geingob’s critics] have made it a point to make Geingob’s presidency a difficult one but they will not succeed.”
The previous board comprised of 11 members but this time around it will only have 10 board members.
The new board members are listed in a memorandum dated 29 March 2017 circulated to the ministry’s management, NamWater’s management and the new board members inviting them to attend the inauguration of the new board. The board will be inaugurated on Wednesday
The new board members are Michael Gawaseb(Chairperson of Consumer Trust of Namibia), Sikongo Haihambo(vice chairperson of Namibia Statistics Board), Joshua Kaumbi(Director at JR Kaumbi Inc), Thaddius Maswahu(former head of marketing at Standard Bank), Dr. Anna Matros-Goreses(Director at the Department NUST), Dr. Postrick Mushendami(Deputy Director of Policy Research and International Affairs at Bank of Namibia),
Aino-Sylvia Nsinano, Viviane Kinyaga(Desert Rsearch Foundation of Namibia), Lilja Ndapanda-Ashipala and Hilde Jesaja.
Gawaseb, Maswahu, Dr Matros-Goreses, Jesaja are the only members that were reappointed from the previous board that was appointed in 2014.
Although Ngurare and Geingob share a political home, the animosity between Geingob and Ngurare is no secret.
Ngurare attracted the ire of the Swapo hierarchy when he started questioning party processes openly.
He was also one of those who opted to support Jerry Ekandjo instead of Geingob during the 2012 Swapo Party Congress for the party’s vice president position-which Geingob won. But although Geingob extended an olive branch to Ekandjo by according him a Cabinet post, with Ngurare it was not the case.
Hence it came as no surprise in 2015 when Geingob acted as one of the central figures that spearheaded the process that eventually led to Ngurare, Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukweni Nauyoma being chucked out of the party for their land activism ways.
“I am not perfect but I doubt that you are qualified to judge me because, put simply, my sins are younger than yours, let God be the judge for all our sins,” Ngurare said in a hard-hitting letter dated 3 August 2015 and addressed to Geingob that was published in The Namibian newspaper.
In the letter, Ngurare accused Geingob of plotting the expulsion of the youth league in 2012 on the sidelines of the 5th youth league congress held in Windhoek.
“Perhaps you forgot, let me remind you that on 28 August 2012 on the sidelines of 5th SPYL congress in Windhoek you (Comrade President), Cde (Mbumba) Nangolo and Tobacco Adviser (apparent reference to Armas Amukwiyu) convened a meeting at Protea Hotel to plot against our congress outcome … In other words, it is not surprising that now you are President it became your first priority above all priorities to expel us,” he wrote at the time.
Sources said President Hage Geingob’s re-emergence on the political scene was Ngurare’s undoing, although the irony is that Ngurare was at the forefront of campaigning for Geingob to become Swapo vice president at the 2007 elective congress.
Geingob’s standing among the rank and file has been strengthened, while his enemies will have to be more cautious.
With the party’s elective congress just months away, the battle is expected to intensify.
But customary to Namibian politics-Geingob’s detractors would find it difficult to come out publicly for fear of reprisals-a situation well-known to those who supported Ekandjo in 2012.
But sources have indicated that the 2012 Ekandjo-camp are mounting their own fightback campaign.