No ‘smaller cabinet’ for Swapo – Presidency

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Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK – The Presidency has denied that in his statement and remarks during the first meeting of the Swapo Central Committee, President Hage Geingob referred to the creation of a new body, but merely illustrated the ideal functioning and inclusive strategic interaction that ought to exist between national Cabinet and the party secretariat.

Earlier this month, the media reported that Geingob, during the first Swapo Central Committee meeting, said in future he wants to implement a “smaller cabinet” for the party, which would be briefed by Swapo Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa.

It was reported that after the government Cabinet briefing has taken place, another Swapo cabinet briefing must also take place to ensure that information flows to the party.

However, Presidential Press Secretary, Dr Alfredo Hengari, dismissed these media reports, saying the Presidency wishes to highlight, and correct the erroneous, if not hurried, interpretations of President Geingob’s opening remarks as President of the Swapo Party to the May 5, 2018, meeting of the Central Committee, its first in 2018.
“It is regrettable to observe that the generic and colloquial use of the word ‘cabinet’ in the context of the work of the secretariat created the hasty impression on the part of the media and commentators that the President was proposing duplication of national Cabinet activities at party level,” Hengari reacted.

Hengari said, as one of the drafters of the Namibian Constitution, Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, Prime Minister, and long-standing senior Swapo Party leader, President Geingob possesses a scholarly and functionally itemised and panoramic view of the functioning and interaction of government and political institutions, including national processes.

He explained that Geingob informed the Swapo Central Committee that the convention of inviting the secretary general of the ruling party to the national Cabinet is aimed at ensuring policy coherence and convergence between Cabinet and its decisions.

In his opening statement, Hengari said President Geingob explained the existing relationship and strategic interaction between government, on the one hand, and the Swapo Party, on the other – the latter, as initiator of the party manifesto consequently translated into a government programme of action by the former.
In the current iteration, Hengari noted that the Swapo Party Manifesto of 2014 has been morphed and articulated through the Harambee Prosperity Plan. Therefore, he said context informing the explanation by President Geingob about the strategic interaction was the election of a new secretariat for the ruling party on that occasion of May 5, 2018.

He explained that the functional work and activities of the secretariat fall under the authority of the Secretary General of the Swapo Party.

“President Geingob rightly stressed that the new secretariat had the obligation to proactively communicate and timeously discuss government policy and decisions as part of its activities, including with the rank and file of the ruling party. In so doing, the secretariat would be giving, through its activities, concrete expression to the credo of ‘No one should feel left out’,” he maintained.

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