Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has refused to be drawn into the debate on whether or not President Hage Geingob has asked her to voluntarily tender her resignation from Cabinet or face the wrath and embarrassment of being fired.
Iivula-Ithana did not confirm nor has she denied having received the hotly debated letter from Geingob.
The Patriot has it on good grounds that both Iivula Ithana and Jerry Ekandjo were asked to give reasons why they should not be shown the door.
The move to write to the duo is allegedly driven by the comments they made during the campaign trail against the Geingob-led Team Harambee. Sources close to the duo claim that they are unapologetic for exercising their right to contest for positions during internal party elections.
“I don’t understand why, if the President[Geingob] has written to us or to me, it should be a matter between me and the press,” said Iivula-Ithana upon inquiry this week.
Iivula-Ithana then added: “Why must the work of the President of Swapo and the minister of home affairs must now be explained through the media. I don’t think that is correct.”
She then said if Geingob has written to her, she will first respond to him and that it was not up to her to divulge the contents of such a letter.
“It’s not up to me to divulge the content of the letter from the President unless the President himself or the people at State House decide to divulge the letter written to me and the content of my response,” said Iivula-Ithana.
The Patriot has established that the letters -allegedly written by attorney general Sacky Shanghala – were hand delivered to the duo by presidential affairs minister Frans Kapofi during the course of last week.
Sources close to the matter say the Shanghala-crafted letters have since been challenged by both Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana in terms of its constitutionality.
It is further alleged that both Iivula-Ithana and Ekandjo strongly reiterated that what transpired congress was within the confines and parameters of the Swapo constitution and was a strictly party matter.
Those in the know have it that Iivula-Ithana has on several occasion ‘begged’ Geingob not to fire her.
When this was put to her, Iivula-Ithana brushed the claims off with an extended laugh “is that Christmas news now or what is it? No, no, no…if they want to hear the truth, the media should find a source. I am not the source of anything.”
Last week, The Patriot reported exclusively that Geingob wrote to two of his Cabinet ministers asking them to resign. In the same letters, Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana were requested to explain to the President why they should be kept in their ministerial posts.
Geingob has premised this request on the latter’s decision to challenge him and his slate at the watershed 6th Swapo elective congress.
Geingob made these remarks in response to a questions at State House last week.
“When you are in Cabinet, you must be loyal. Not to me but to Cabinet,” Geingob stated elusively.
At congress in November, Geingob’s team (Team Harambee) reduced to ashes the Ekandjo-Iivula-Ithana-led Team Swapo by sweeping Swapo’s top four positions and over 70% of the positions in the party’s decision-making structures, the central committee (CC) and political bureau.
Both Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana campaigned vigorously and with utmost tenacity for Team Swapo to unseat Geingob from Swapo’s presidency.
It now appears that, this exercise by the two did not sit well Geingob who is awaiting resignation letters from critics in his midst.
Geingob also made it clear that the hiring and firing Cabinet ministers was his prerogative.
“When it comes to Cabinet, it’s the President’s prerogative.
I don’t consult anyone to appoint or fire any minister,” he said before making it clear that the same way he appointed his cabinet ministers was the same way he was going to fire any of them.
Geingob further probed: “How do you want to stay (in Cabinet)? Where did you see an opposition in Cabinet?
If you have your own ideas and Swapo is not doing it…start you own political party.”
Geingob then said “I don’t know what it is (someone will criticize you but they won’t resign).
It is better to resign if you don’t like someone. If you are not happy, go!
If you are not happy and stay, I will fire you,” to further fuel speculation that indeed, both Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana were on the firing line.
The two argue that their contestation at congress has no direct link to their duties as Cabinet ministers and thus there were no grounds for them to tender their resignation based on a mere participation in a democratic process.