Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has called on ministers to take control of their ministries and not to let permanent secretaries control them.
Speaking during the opening of the last Cabinet meeting of the year at State House yesterday, Geingob said he was surprised to hear that there are ministers who are not on speaking terms with their permanent secretaries.
“Ministers, you are the political head, all of you. How can you be fighting with the permanent secretaries if you are the political head? It means you are failing. Comrade ministers, be strong, don’t allow permanent secretaries to control you,” he said.
The president did not cite specific examples, but seemed to refer to the reported tension between Health Minister Bernard Haufiku and his permanent secretary, Andreas Mwoombola.
Geingob also thanked the ministers and their technical staff for the efforts they put into conceiving, formulating and actualising policy initiatives. “Through your laudable endeavours, you have given further credence to the Harambee spirit,” he said.
Geingob said as the Swapo-led government, they have made pledges to the Namibian people through the party manifesto and their promise to deliver prosperity by improving the quality of life of all Namibians. He said on the basis of the evidence provided by this year’s Cabinet meetings, he was confident they had not wavered on this promise. “Like any noble cause, challenges and obstacles will always litter the path to success, but together we have what it takes to persevere, overcome and succeed,” he said.
“As the saying goes, ‘We are not defined by our challenges, but lifted up by them’. As we prepare to draw the certain on 2017, I encourage all of you to ponder this statement.”
He further called on all ministers to ensure their respective ministries expedite the implementation of Cabinet decisions, where this has not already been done.
“Our ability to work in unison, driven by the common purpose of developing our Namibian house, has been the driving force behind the success we have achieved during the Cabinet sessions of 2017,” he said.
He noted that with the assistance of various Cabinet committees that applied their respective expertise to provide much-needed analysis to aid the process of the policy formulation, Cabinet was able to deliberate on several key policy initiatives in the course of the past year.
In this regard, the president said the Cabinet Handbook was explicit in its definition of the responsibility Cabinet holds in terms of policy making, stating: “Success in administering and executing the functions of the government depends very much on the effort that goes into the formulation of policy and implementation mechanisms.”
President Geingob then wished all ministers a peaceful and joyful festive season: “May you all travel and arrive safely at your respective destinations,” he said. “Get some good rest, because next year is the year of reckoning. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”