WINDHOEK – It is still not clear whether parliamentarian Laura McLeod-Katjirua will receive her monthly salary from parliament or from the Khomas Regional Council where she serves as Khomas governor, but the presidency indicated her salary must be appropriated from the regional council.
McLeod-Katjirua was on Friday reappointed as Khomas governor by President Hage Geingob and remains the political head of the country’s most strategic region.
The country’s laws do not prevent McLeod-Katjirua from holding both offices – it would only have been a problem if she had been appointed to serve in the executive, which is not the case.
It came as a surprise to many last month when McLeod-Katjirua failed to be called up by Geingob to serve as minister or deputy minister.
Many thought Geingob would appoint a new governor for Khomas, seeing the Khomas Regional Council even held a farewell party in March in her honour.
Governors currently earn over N$740 000 per annum while ordinary members of parliament earn about N$550 000 per annum. Both amounts include perks.
Sources told New Era that should McLeod-Katjirua draw her salary from the regional council, it would make it interesting to see how she will claim subsistence and travel allowance from the National Assembly seeing that she will not be on the payroll of parliament and subsequently not have a salary number in parliament’s database.
McLeod-Katjirua is currently a backbencher in parliament, and backbenchers make up the biggest chunk of the National Assembly’s parliamentary committees.
So if she joins one of the committees it would be interesting to see how her subsistence and travel allowance is appropriated.
Minister of Presidential Affairs Frans Kapofi said McLeod-Katjirua’s salary must be appropriated from the regional council.
“In my view she is a regional governor, that is where she works everyday and that is where her office is, therefore her salary must be appropriated from there,” Kapofi said yesterday.
“It is just like ministers – where do they draw their salaries? They are members of parliament and ministers at the same time, it is the same concept,” explained Kapofi.
Yesterday the National Assembly secretary Jakes Jacobs told this publication that he was not aware of the arrangements put in place regarding McLeod-Katjirua’s salary.
“At this stage I do not know what arrangements are in place as I have also just learned about it in the newspapers. But normally people do not get two salaries. The appointing authority will be in a better position to comment on that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Khomas Regional Council management committee chairperson Zulu Shitongeni said under normal circumstances McLeod-Katjirua would draw the higher salary – in this case from the regional council.
“In all government setups you draw your salary from the senior position. Like in my case, I am a regional councillor and the chairperson of the management committee, therefore I receive the salary of a chairperson. One salary must be stopped and the other one comes in,” he said.
Shitongeni added: “Even if you have three positions, you draw your salary from the position which is most senior.”
Geingob said on Friday when he appointed six new governors that the position of a governor was perked at that of a deputy minister.
McLeod-Katjirua also holds the position of Swapo Party deputy secretary general.
Until 2012 Mcleod-Katjirua served as Omaheke governor. The then president Hifikepunye Pohamba reshuffled her to take over the Khomas governorship from Samuel Nuuyoma who was sent to Otjozondjupa. The idea was for McLeod-Katjirua to be based in the capital to ensure she attended to the party’s administrative functions as well.
Following Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa who has been governor since 1998, McLeod-Katjirua is the second longest serving governor in the country, having taken office as Omaheke Region’s political head late in 2001.