The Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku feels cabinet ministers should only serve a term of 10 to 15 years and then make way for an infusion of fresh and progressive leaders.
Some members of the current Cabinet during the past 26 years initially served as deputy ministers and were eventually elevated to a full ministerial position, with some showing no sign of making way for an infusion of fresh blood.
Among those in Cabinet currently referred to as “the old guard” are the Vice-President Dr Nickey Iyambo, the Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, the Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Jerry Ekandjo, and the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina.
Utoni Nujoma the Minister of Land Reform, Professor Peter Katjavivi the Speaker of the National Assembly, John Mutorwa the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Sophia Shaaningwa the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Zephania Kameeta the Minister of Poverty Eradication, Phillemon Malima the Director General of Namibia Central Intelligence Service and Nangolo Mbumba the Swapo SG are also listed among the “old guard”.
In response to a question on the term of office for ministers, the health minister who assumed office in March 2015 said: “To be honest with you, the position of minister, I think it’s better if it could be ten years, then every ten years you have new ministers coming in because then they will have enough time to learn and then you don’t have someone who has to be there for 20 years.”
According to Haufiku, he is not so sure whether it’s practically progressive for a member of parliament or a minister to be in that position for 20 years.
“You know such a person can become a consultant or an advisor to government or a new minister or something, but that is my personal opinion, I don’t want to speak on behalf of anyone.”
“Just like the president’s term, ten years for a minister is a fair period, maybe even 15 years but 20 years in government, it is too much; 10 maximum, maybe 15 years but more than that, I wouldn’t even go to that extent,” said the health minister.
Haufiku spoke to New Era recently after he personally donated N$10 000 to St Boniface College last Thursday. This reporter interviewed him on the sidelines of the event to ask him about the medical practice he once had before going to parliament, and asked him whether he still wants to continue as a medical practitioner.
“The practice is still running and I still have the chance of going to practice medicine, I’m not really a career politician, I’m just trying to help out with a few things – maybe someone else can take over after my term,” he said.
Haufiku further told New Era the Dr BS Haufiku Practice at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek is currently being run by Dr Kenny Hepundwa and Dr Hosea Hipondokwa, both graduates of the famed Stellenbosch Medical School in South Africa.
“I gave the practice to them so that they can hold it for me. They are using all my equipment, which will be as long as the practice is going and they pay for the rent and all the expenses that I was paying when I was practising. So the idea is that when I’m maybe done with my term or so, then one day I can still go back to my practice, or if anything happens. I don’t want the practice to go because I’m still a medical doctor by heart,” he said.