By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – Some of the outgoing senior ministers who failed to make it to parliament – and ultimately Cabinet – have seemingly accepted their fate.
Six ministers did not make it to parliament following last year’s general election and Monday’s announcement of the eight presidential nominees.
Ministers Richard Kamwi (health), David Namwandi (education), Isak Katali (mines and energy), Joël Kaapanda (information), Uahekua Herunga (environment and tourism) and Rosalia Nghidinwa (gender equality) all did not make it.
Nine deputy ministers will also not be returning to parliament. They are Peter Ilonga (defence), Elia Kaiyamo (home affairs), Hilma Nicanor (veterans’ affairs), Kilus Nguvauva (works), Lempy Lucas (agriculture), Theo Diergaardt (lands), Petrina Haingura (health), Angelika Muharukua (gender) and Willem Isaacks, the mines and energy deputy who died in a car accident late last year.
The ministers that New Era spoke to yesterday said they do not harbour ill-feeling against the party or Geingob, saying they will look back at their time in government with fond memories of accomplishment.
Katali yesterday conceded that his chance of inclusion was always slim after failing to make it at the Swapo electoral college last year.
“I knew I would not be selected because the incoming president had many considerations to make when appointing people, such as regional and gender balance as well as expertise,” said Katali.
“I however appreciate the fact that I got a chance to serve the Namibian people. I have learned a lot during my tenure as a national lawmaker.”
Asked about his future plans, Katali said: “I will concentrate on some farming activities and anything else that I can lay my hands on. I know I did a lot for my country during my time and although I could not finish everything I wanted to do, I am happy with the things I could achieve.”
His gender equality counterpart Rosalia Nghidinwa said her departure does not mean she will stop being a leader because “leaders are not only those who are in the spotlight”.
“When you are a leader you must be able to work without any remuneration and this is what some of us were doing before we became members of parliament,” she said.
Nghidinwa said the injection of new faces in parliament shows that Namibia’s succession system is fully functional.
“If we were bad leaders, we would have prevented the new and young people from making it into parliament,” said Nghidinwa, also mentioning that she did not harbour any ambitions of making the list.
According to Nghidinwa: “Politics is a game, therefore I do not dream of tomorrow but I rather focus on today.”
She singled out her tenure at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration as her greatest time in government.
“Even if people do not appreciate what we did at home affairs, together with my team we can proudly say that we changed that ministry because we developed an action plan since 2005, which is now being implemented and you can see the difference in that ministry,” she said.
Outgoing Minister of Education Dr David Namwandi also said he had no ambitions of being part of the eight appointees because he, democratically, did not make the party list after last year’s electoral college.
“That is politics my friend, today you are a minister and tomorrow you are an ordinary member of society. Others went through the electoral college last year so I had no reason to hope for a spot on the list of eight appointees,” Namwandi explained.
Namwandi congratulated Geingob and his team of incoming parliamentarians.
Asked about his future plans, Namwandi said he would not sit idle as from March 21, adding that his future was not based on Monday’s announcement.
The eight presidential appointees are Pendukeni Iiuvula-Ithana, Jerry Ekandjo, Dr Albert Kawana, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, Bernard Haufiku, Heather Sibungo, Dr Zephania Kameeta and Obeth Kandjoze.