12 March 2013

Namibia: Angula Keeps PM's Perks Despite Move

DEFENCE Minister Nahas Angula is still receiving a salary at prime minister level and other perks after he was moved to a lower portfolio.

The Namibian has it on good authority that President Hifikepunye Pohamba asked Angula to make way for current Prime Minister Hage Geingob to occupy the post for "security reasons".

The fact that Pohamba wanted his successor closer to him to allow for a smooth transition was cited as a secondary reason by impeccable sources.

Sources in the know said that Pohamba had to move Geingob to the prime minister's portfolio because he could not get sufficient security detail to guard him as trade minister. Geingob is also the Swapo vice president.

The move is said to have come after Pohamba was advised by the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lt Gen Sebastian Ndeitunga, that his forces do not have the manpower to offer the required protection to the president, prime minister, deputy prime minister and the minister of trade.

In addition it would have cost millions of dollars extra to maintain tighter security for Geingob.

Well-placed sources said Ndeitunga informed Pohamba that by law Geingob, as trade minister, should be accorded the same level of security as other Cabinet ministers.

It is said that it was also brought to Pohamba's attention that Geingob's position as party vice president and likely presidential candidate only applied to the party (Swapo), hence the move to make him prime minister.

Ndeitunga refused to comment on the issue, referring questions to the police public relations department.

Government sources told The Namibian that Angula did not object to his move to the Defence Ministry after Pohamba informed him of the changes he intended to make.

It is for this reason that Pohamba apparently made sure that Angula kept the salary and perks of the office he vacated in December last year.

Angula, when approached for comment, said he was not aware of the reasons why he was appointed as Minister of Defence but added that he was happy in his new role.

He confirmed that he kept some of his perks and his salary.

"That perhaps is true, some of the benefits have not changed," he said when asked about his perks.

Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana said he knew nothing about the security issue, but said that the president had planned the Cabinet reshuffle already before the ruling party's elective congress took place. It was at the congress where Geingob was re-elected as Swapo vice president.

"He made his mind up already before the congress that whoever becomes vice president will automatically move into the PM's office," Kawana said when explaining why Pohamba made the move.

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