President Hage Geingob yesterday blasted all regional governors for being silent when he and his administration are being attacked directly by the public and through the media.
He also warned them that they are mandated to represent and defend the government and not “petition” the authorities.
Geingob reminded the 14 governors that according to the law they shall hold office at the pleasure of the president, meaning that he can appoint and discharge them, if they cannot deliver.
He furthermore questioned why the 14 governors have not been updating his office on what is happening on the ground, including the recent running skirmishes between landless Walvis Bay residents and the police.
Geingob further instructed them to always be reachable on their official phones while stressing that the bickering and tug-of-war between regional governors, chairpersons of regional councils and chief regional officers (CROs) must come to an end.
He did the admonishment yesterday during a consultative meeting with all 14 governors, chairpersons and CROs at which he briefed them on the widely praised Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
Geingob inherited eight governors from his predecessor Hifkepunye Pohamba. He reappointed them last year after taking office. They are Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua, Erongo’s Cleophas Mutjavikua, Ohangwena’s Usko Nghaamwa, Festus Ueitele of Omaheke, Oshikoto’s Henock Kankoshi, Clemens Kashuupulwa of Oshana, Lawrence Sampofu of Zambezi Region and Samuel Mbambo, who now heads Kavango East.
“Sometimes I am told that I am arrogant … You are too quiet. Governors are too quiet when the government is being attacked. People are saying all kinds of things,” said Geingob.
He added that whenever he has discussions with stakeholders such as the Affirmative Repositioning movement in trying to maintain peace in the country, governors do not report to him on the effects of such agreements in the regions.
“I do not get reports from you governors. Walvis Bay’s issues, I did not get a report. I called the governor and he did not get the report and the chairperson was locked up in a meeting with those people.”
He said the governors are there to see that peace and stability is maintained in their respective regions of deployment.
“You cannot do what we are trying to do without maintaining peace. And peace is boring, it seems. People are there trying to create problems. Why are people trying to cause confusion?”
Geingob said both he and the governors have the people’s mandate but there are those who want to disrupt that and are waiting for government to fail.
He said the detractors are now surprised by the manner in which his administration has performed so far.
“It is for you to represent, wherever you are, to represent this office. To represent the government,” he reminded the governors.
He then turned his attention to those governors who stand against the government, forgetting what their roles are.
“When I was traveling the country – some of you are new governors – I was shocked that some of you are talking as if you are petitioners. Like you represent the people against the government. But you forget that you are supposed to be there for me, and now you sit there and petition me?” he said rhetorically.
When contacted for comment on Geingob’s remarks after the meeting, Otjozondjupa Governor Otto Ipinge said he totally agreed with Geingob.
“We are here to develop the country; I am not here to discuss the petty things you are asking me. I have important things pertaining to developing this country, not those petty things you want me to comment on. I am not here for the agendas of you media,” fumed Ipinge when he was pressed.
Oshikoto’s Henock Kankoshi also said he agreed with Geingob.
“The message was loud and clear. I agree 100 percent with the president and I have been doing it already,” added Kankoshi.
He further said he could not think of any reason or challenge that could hinder him and his counterpart from coming to the defence of the government.