22 April 2013

Namibia: Pohamba Continues to Pave Way for Geingob

PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba continued to lay the foundation for his vice president Hage Geingob's team after last week's political appointments.

Swapo allies who were associated with Geingob during his campaign to retain the party's vice presidency last year continue to receive top positions. The latest are the appointments of the two governors and two ministerial advisors.

Presidential Affairs Minister Albert Kawana on Friday announced Pohamba's appointment of ambassador Samuel Mbambo as governor of Kavango Region while Swapo member of parliament Festus Ueitele takes over as governor of Omaheke Region.

The other two appointments were those of Nestor Shuukwanyama as special advisor to the minister of regional and local government, housing and rural development. Vincent Likoro, who was tipped to be the next governor of Kavango, was appointed as special advisor on resettlement to the minister of lands and resettlement.

Mbambo is seen by insiders as neutral, while Ueitele and Likoro backed Geingob. Kawana said in a statement that the current drought prompted the head of state to appoint special advisors. A source from the party leadership says Pohamba is still putting together a team for Geingob, who is tipped to be the next head of state.

Shikuukwanyama is the Swapo regional coordinator of Ohangwena Region and he supported Jerry Ekandjo at the last party congress.

According to the source, Likoro, who was the regional coordinator in Kavango, was appointed as special advisor because he did not get the governor's position he was tipped to get. Likoro currently also serves on the Agronomic Board.

Highly placed sources in the ruling party say the appointment of Shikuukwanyama will create a vacancy at his previous position.

“They can get in someone who will listen to Pohamba and Geingob as a coordinator of Ohangwena,” said the source.

Another source was sceptical about whether the appointments were made to smooth matters for Prime Minister Geingob when he takes over the party reins from Pohamba.

“That is a possibility but moving Likoro might not be good for Geingob in Kavango,” said the source.

“On the other hand, Geingob surprised many when he spoke very reconciliatory at Khorixas yesterday, even mentioning Jerry [Ekandjo] and acknowledging the leadership of the SPYL during the bitter days of the struggle. He pledged to be a unifier.”

Elijah Ngurare, the secretary of the Swapo Party Youth League, is happy with the appointments of the former regional coordinators.

“This is affirmation that structures of the party are recognised. Similarly, it should be for section, branch, district, regional leaders of the party be considered in the same way,” he said.

Ngurare said Kavango's new governor Mbambo is a career diplomat, scholar and historian.

“He is the right personality who can unite the so-called east-west divide in Kavango,” he said.

He also lauded the appointed of Ueitele for his knowledge of the region he is going to serve as political head.

“It will be expected that he becomes governor for all residents of Omaheke and thereby unite the region,” said the youth wing leader.

The two new governors replaced Omaheke Governor Rapama Kamehozu and Kavango Governor Maurus Nekaro, who died last month.

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