Confusion over Khomas governorship

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WINDHOEK – Many residents of Khomas Region are not clear on who the political head of the region is, with supposed governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua reluctant to confirm whether or not she is still in charge of the region after her recent election to parliament.

A farewell party was held in honour of McLeod-Katjirua at the Khomas Regional Council, after the results of last year’s general election confirmed she was headed for the National Assembly.

Apart from Usko Nghaamwa of Ohangwena, McLeod-Katjirua was the only other parliament-bound governor to have not been named as minister or deputy minister following the recent announcement of Cabinet and other senior government appointments by President Hage Geingob.

Hardap governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and her Omusati and Oshikoto counterparts – Sophia Shaningwa and Penda Ya Ndakolo respectively – were all appointed as ministers, while Karas governor Bernadus Swartbooi was appointed as deputy minister.

Despite making it to parliament following the election, Nghaamwa was not sworn in as a member of parliament, amidst claims he withdrew from the list at the eleventh hour.

Nghaamwa has been hesitant to confirm whether or not he is still governor of Ohangwena, after a farewell party was held in his honour too.

For the umpteenth time, he refused to confirm his status yesterday, urging journalists to have their notebooks ready for any breaking news regarding his job.

“I’m in Etosha watching animals. But keep your notebook open at all times for any news,” he said yesterday when approached for comment.

Impeccable sources in Ohangwena say Nghaamwa has handed in the keys of his governor’s office.

President Geingob is expected to appoint governors for Karas, Hardap, Oshikoto and Omusati regions, but it is not clear what action he will take regarding Ohangwena and Khomas.

Speculation was rife that McLeod-Katjirua might be allowed to serve as both Khomas governor and a Swapo MP in the National Assembly because of the proximity of the two workplaces.

However, legal experts say this would only happen if the Special Advisors and Regional Governors Appointment Amendment Act of 2010 is amended. Currently, experts say, the law does not make provision for a governor to hold a position such as that of member of parliament.

Yesterday McLeod-Katjirua was in no mood to discuss her status in government, urging this reporter to seek clarity elsewhere.

“What do you want me to answer? It seems to me you already have the information so why are you asking? Just go to your source and get your proper information.”

Efforts to get hold of the Khomas Regional Council’s Management Committee Chairperson Zulu Shitongeni proved futile as his mobile phone was off.

McLeod-Katjirua took over as Omaheke governor from Paulo Thataone in 2002 and served in that position until former president Hifikepunye Pohamba moved her to Khomas in 2012 following the Swapo congress at which she was voted as deputy secretary general of the ruling party.

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