By Staff Reporter
Information Communication Technology Minister Stanley Simaata has told The Patriot that he would be calling it quits and retire from government work by 2025 to pursue farming.
Simaata made this revelation at the recently concluded Swapo Party Electoral College which saw Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta who is rumoured to be sworn in as Prime Minister in March 2020, score gallantly while Trade deputy minister Lucia Ipumbu did surprisingly well.
“2025 I will be retiring so that others, you know, can also come in. I will continue to engage in agriculture of course,” Simaata said.
Simaata and a host of government officials who made it to the Swapo A-list that will contest for the upcoming November 2019 elections expressed glee for having been elected.
“I am grateful that I was given the opportunity by those who took the decision, you know, (for me) to go back and I will go back and see how best I can see how best I can keep on advancing the agenda in whatever sector I will be working,” Simaata said.
Finance minister Calle Schlettwein said, “of course I am elated, I am very happy about all the support that I got that made me number five on the male list. We have to redouble our efforts to have the economy back, to continue with the good work that we have started from the macro-economic side but also on the management side.
Improve quality of spending, get the services done and bring them to the people, work away inequalities.
So those are the big tasks that we have to challenge and negotiate and win.
The party has spoken, I do believe that we have a good team. One must look forward, one must be optimistic. We must work together and the team will be good,” he said.
Veterans deputy minister Hilma Nikanor said the Pot went smoothly, expressing that the party came out more united.
“What is remaining is hard work, to make Swapo to be successful during the upcoming election and to make sure that we will have a landslide victory for the party, come November 2019. It was a successful engagement of the party, very peaceful, in a camaraderie spirit.
The comrades conducted themselves and we came out just much united again,” said Nikanor.
Parliamentarian, Albert Kawana said this was just but the beginning of the long battle ahead.
“My brother, this was a Swapo party family.
The greater battle is still coming whereby we have to go to the people, to renew the mandate of the Swapo party. We have to make sure that the legacy of the Swapo party from now on is what we call, as a slogan, shared prosperity to each and every Namibian citizen,” he said.
An overall view of the Pot
To begin with, President Hage Geingob is Swapo’s sole candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections and as such he was not voted for, he qualified automatically.
This also goes for the rest of the Swapo Top Four which constitute the Vice President, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa and her Deputy Secretary General, Marco Hausiku.
At present, Swapo has 77 seats based on winning 80% of votes for the National Assembly and on the Pot list, the candidates who occupied positions close to 75 and above are not guaranteed of making it to parliament.
But not everyone has made it, and among the losers were former youth minister Jerry Ekandjo, former Home Affairs minister, Ivula Ithana and politician Elijah Ngurare.
The Pot had two lists, which was made up of 84 men and 84 women.
Delegates had to vote for two candidates, a man and a woman in line with the party’s zebra style format.
The voters roll had a total of 238 voters of which the counted votes were 233.
On the male list, seven ballots for men were spoilt while six ballots were spoilt for women.
The ultimate leading male candidate was Tourism and Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta who tallied 193 votes while deputy minister for Trade, Industrial Relations and SME Development Lucia Ipumbu came in second with 184 votes.
Ahead of the Pot, Ipumbu was quite uneasy but expressed that she would be ready to accept the results as they came.
As the Pot concluded, President Hage Geingob insisted that going forward, the party would launch its manifesto and begin its campaign trail with earnest.
Geingob’s saving grace?
However, the Namibian constitution allows the President to add 10 members to the A-team and another 8 (non-voting) members to National Assembly.
This week, President Hage Geingob made his choice and extended a lifeline to Ekandjo, Peter Katjavivi and Margreth Mensah Williams.
This has left in the cold potential candidates like health minister Kalumbi Shangula, economic planning minister Obeth Kandjoze and acting education minister Martin Anjaba.
The Pot results and the concomitant Presidential nominees list might signal the end of an era for former affairs minister Pendukeni Ivula Ithana and the ailing Immanuel Ngatjizeko.
Ithana is quite advanced in age which makes her come back quite unlikely.
Team Swapo vs Team Harambee
Looking at this list, analyst, columnist and political commentator, Ndumbah Kamwanya said that this was a victory for Team Harambee, a Swapo faction allied with President Hage Geingob over Team Swapo.
With Team Swapo cast by the way-side, the million-dollar question is, will Swapo be able to maintain unity being building a bridge between the victors and losers?
President Hage Geingob, once again, at the close of the event called for unity.
The Pot also brought some surprises as convicted former education minister Katrina Hanse Himarwa made it at position 82, defeating her long-time ally and National Council Chairperson, Margaret Mensa-Williams.
Another surprising new entrant to the A-team is convicted former Namibia Wildlife Resorts boss, Tobie Aupindi.
Aupindi and Himarwa’s inclusions had been heavily contested and criticised by both analysts and Swapo heavy weights but the party has maintained that there was no law which barred both from contesting.