Monday 12 April 2021
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2019 – Will propel or crush Himarwa’s political career

Education minister, Katrina Hanse Himarwa’s corruption trial is now nearing completion as the state closed its case last month while political analysts have expressed themselves that whatever verdict the court may bring, it will have a serious impact that will either break or make her political career.
This May, High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg, who is presiding over the case, will be hearing the closing oral arguments on the 21st and 22nd after which he will lay down his judgment.
The minister’s case has received widespread media attention as she stands accused of flexing her muscles as Hardap governor, to remove two beneficiaries of the Pohamba era mass housing project and replace them with her niece and sister-in-law.
Although Himarwa (52) has flatly denied these allegations, a political analyst weighed in to say that the case against her is strongly reinforced by the fact that four high profile figures that presided over the project in Mariental unanimously agreed that she changed the list to her benefit.
Speaking to this publication, political scientist and columnist, Vitalio Angula reasoned that in the event that Himarwa gets acquitted, she faces the possibility of being propelled to greater political heights.
Angula said it will be her rise from the ashes, like the proverbial phoenix, and she will be extolled as someone who has been “victimised by the system”.
Angula added that such a verdict will finally prove that she had been treated unfairly by the media “where she was already guilty before the court case started, and when the accusations first popped up”.
Himarwa also faces the prospect of gaining for herself much needed credibility in the public eye.
In the eventuality of a guilty judgment, Himarwa risks losing her position as minister, politburo member as well as in the central committee although she may still have her support base in the south, said Angula.
“For her to make a strong point, she will just have to cry that song of victimisation. That they removed me because I am a Nama, they don’t want us from the south. That is the only card that she can play. But it comes to the way she conducted herself during the trial. Coming to court like a model. Corruption at the level of a minister is a very serious allegation. You don’t come to court with your friends and then you engage in prayers, taking pictures. No! You carry yourself with dignity.
Now when you model like that you are bringing shame to your party, and on your appointing authority. For that, people will not forgive you. And also she must remember she is representing people who are said to be marginalised. I am not being tribal. So she did not show that maturity,” he said.
If she is found to have committed a corrupt act, under normal circumstances, the minister will have to step down with immediate effect and on her own accord, said academic and political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah.
Yet her removal from office “will be the prerogative of the President,” he added.
The positive aspect on the whole case, according to Kamwanyah is that the minister allowed subjecting herself to the legal process for transparency purposes.
“But in the court of public opinion, definitely if somebody has been found guilty, it does not serve the purpose to be in a top leadership structure,” he said.
A not-guilty verdict will be a major political bonus for Himarwa, said the analyst, who is one of the few ministers that have endured being “paraded in front of a court” on charges of graft.
However, some analysts have expressed that any kind of judgment will have little effect on her political career given that she remains Geingob’s vital player come election time in the south, which has been invaded by the Landless People’s Movement.
One analyst who refused to be named pointed out that there is a double disadvantage for the people in the south.
A not-guilty judgment will frustrate those who wish to see corruption rooted out, while a guilty judgment will frustrate those who see the minister as their mouthpiece and conveyer belt to prosperity.
“If politicians had their way, I think they would not have had her prosecuted. I would say the last thing that the President wanted is to remove her from empowering the south,” he said.

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