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Sunday 21 April 2019
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Hage’s reckoning begins

Fires two ministers, replaces press secretary

 

Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who was fired as home affairs and immigration yesterday, said the move against her came as no surprise. Sports minister Jerry Ekandjo also got his marching orders yesterday. Speaking to The Patriot over the telephone yesterday, Iivula-Ithana said she expected the move but she harbours no hard feelings. Iivula-Ithana who is still on annual leave, was due to return to office on Monday to start duty, but after the dismissal she will merely return to clear her desk.
“I expected it but I am not worried. It is his prerogative to hire and fire,” she said.
The irretrievable breakdown of relations between the trio allegedly arose from the Congress.

 
There are talks that the duo are being prosecuted and further claims that President Hage Geingob is targeting party members who did not support him during the November 2017 Swapo Party Elective Congress.
Ekandjo challenged Geingob for the party’s top position at Congress while Iivula-Ithana formed part of Team Swapo which challenged Geingob’s slate.
Ekandjo yesterday had no issue with the dismissal saying “if it is not linked to the Congress its fine, but if it is then it is wrong. I remain hopeful that this purge would not be extended to the districts, sections and branches”.

 
In December 2017 it was widely reported that Geingob wrote a letter to both Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana requesting them to explain why he should not relieve them from their ministerial duties.
Ekandjo yesterday said: “In my 27 years as a member of Cabinet I have never publicly opposed a decision taken collectively by Cabinet. Consequently by standing for Party Presidency, I merely exercised my rights as a party member.”
Questioned on whether he could think of any reason why he was shown the door, Ekandjo said: “If not congress then what could it be?” The Presidency did not announce Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana’s replacements.
Meanwhile, Albertus Aochamub no longer has the privilege of serving in the presidency after his post was given to someone else.
Aochamub was seconded to head Namibia Airports Company in an acting capacity for 12 months.
It now turns out that the man who has been defending Geingob no matter the cost is gone for good and will from now on require a visitor’s card instead of staff card to access State House if the need arises.
The presidency yesterday thanked him for his services and announced that Dr. Alfredo Hengari will replace him.
There has long been talks that the relationship between Geingob and Aochamub has soured.

 
Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi yesterday confirmed Aochamub’s departure and Hengari’s arrival in the presidency.
Aochamub could find himself jobless if he fails to land the NAC job on a permanent basis. Sources however claim that a deal has already been clinched to make Aochamub the substantive head of NAC.
“The move to appoint him in an acting capacity is a just a smokescreen to prevent public backlash, but eventually, he will be appointed as the boss,” said a source who is privy to the unfolding events.
Aochamub’s exit came as no surprise to those in the presidency, as there are unconfirmed talks that he has tried to resign in the past over a technical disagreement.

 
Ithana’s profile
Iivula-Ithana served in several Cabinet positions. She was Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism from 1990 to 1991, Minister of Youth and Sport from 1991 to 1996, and Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation from 1996 to 2001.
She was moved from the latter position to that of Attorney-General on January 26, 2001. In March 2005, when President Hifikepunye Pohamba took office, she was appointed to the additional post of Minister of Justice.

 
She was elected as Secretary-General of SWAPO at the party’s November 2007 congress, becoming the first woman to hold that position.
Iivula-Ithana was one possible contender for SWAPO’s presidential candidacy, a position determined at the end-2012 party congress. She lost to Hage Geingob and runner-up Jerry Ekandjo, coming third by a margin. This fifth SWAPO Congress was followed by a Cabinet reshuffle on 4 December 2012, in which she became Minister of Home Affairs.
In late August 2014, when SWAPO chose its list of parliamentary candidates for the November 2014 general election, Iivula-Ithana only managed to obtain the 86th spot on the list, a poor performance that made it seem unlikely that she would be elected to the National Assembly. Although she failed to make it into parliament in the election, she was subsequently chosen by President Hage Geingob as one of his eight presidential appointees to the National Assembly.
When Geingob took office in March 2015, Iivula-Ithana was retained in her post as Minister of Home Affairs.

 

Ekandjo’s profile
He was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, and since independence in 1990 he has served as a member of the National Assembly of Namibia.
He also became Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing in 1990, serving in that position until 1995.
He was Deputy Minister of Home Affairs from March 1995 until being promoted to the post of Minister of Home Affairs in September 1995. After nearly ten years as Minister of Home Affairs, Ekandjo was moved to the post of Minister of Lands and Resettlement on March 21, 2005. Ekandjo is widely considered to be a hardliner in the party.
Ekandjo was moved from his post as Minister of Lands and Resettlement to that of Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development in a Cabinet reshuffle on 8 April 2008. At SWAPO’s 2012 party congress, Ekandjo stood as a candidate for SWAPO Vice-President, but he was defeated by Hage Geingob in the vote held on 2 December 2012.

 
In the wake of the congress, Ekandjo was moved to the post of Minister of Youth and Sport as part of a Cabinet reshuffle on 4 December 2012.
In late August 2014, when SWAPO chose its list of parliamentary candidates for the November 2014 general election, Ekandjo only managed to obtain the 81st spot on the list, a poor performance that made it seem unlikely that he would be elected to the National Assembly.
Although he failed to make it into parliament in the election, he was subsequently chosen by as one of his eight presidential appointees to the National Assembly.
Geingob also retained Ekandjo as Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service when he named his cabinet in March 2015.
Profiles courtesy of Wikipedia




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