Geingob defends vice-president’s role

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Vice-President Nickey Iyambo

Windhoek

President Hage Geingob has dispelled talks by commentators that his vice-president (VP), Dr Nickey Iyambo, has taken on a more ceremonial role of officiating at events and acting as head of state in the absence of his senior.

Deputy ministers in the VP’s office last week said they report mainly to Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi to whom they have submitted their performance agreements – and not to Iyambo.

The departments of veterans affairs, marginalised communities and people with disability all fall under the VP’s office and are headed by deputy ministers.

The VP position was created after the constitutional amendments of 2014.

During last week’s consultative meeting with all the country’s deputy ministers, Geingob noted that Iyambo has a litany of responsibilities.

“The VP has many things to do. He is not ceremonial. He has day-to-day activities, problem solving tasks and many things under him,” the president explained.

Iyambo was present at the meeting and was asked by Geingob to spell out his activities.

Iyambo indicated that he attends to various national assignments that do not allow him to go to bed before 00h00 every day.

“Apart from the three departments [under the VP’s office] the president has given me other assignments. One is being his assistant, also deputising him, particularly when he is not in the country,” said Iyambo.

“He is the first citizen and has to represent all of us. We need that because Namibia is in touch with the rest of the world, a friend to all and enemy to none.”

According to the 79-year-old politician, as a veteran of the liberation struggle he advises and consults with other veterans in the system on their problems.

“I also never gave up my own medical training background. There are those who come to seek advice from me on that now and then.”

He added: “One of the heavy responsibilities I am assigned to is to lead a cabinet committee responsible for discussions. We are trying to build up a case for Namibia to discuss with the Germans [about genocide].”

Iyambo emphasised his duties by adding that he cannot recall a day that he finished his work before midnight and therefore dispelled views that his position is an easy responsibility.

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