5 September 2013

Namibia: Pohamba Appoints 10 Ambassadors

PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday announced the appointment of 10 ambassador and high commissioner designates to represent Namibia abroad.

Yesterday's announcement puts to rest months of speculation over who will represent Namibia as government deliberately rolled out a new strategy of appointing seasoned and career diplomats from within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be the President's eyes and ears abroad.

Seven of the 10 appointments are senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have all served on diplomatic duty before.

The only appointments which do not come from a diplomatic background are two permanent secretaries and a deputy permanent secretary.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Steve Katjiuanjo, heads to the United Kingdom to replace George Liswaniso as Namibia's representative in Great Britain and Northern Ireland while Ministry of Justice permanent secretary Peingeondjabi Shipoh takes over from Selma Ashipala-Musavyi as Namibia's High Commissioner to Nigeria.

Ashipala-Musavyi was recently appointed the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Works and Transport deputy permanent secretary Balbina Pienaar is on the way to head the Zimbabwean Mission as Panduleni Shingenge's replacement and deputy permanent secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry Wilbard Hellao, a veteran diplomat, is now the Ambassador designate to the DRC replacing Ringo Abed.

The current acting head of Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry, Pius Dunaiski, takes over from Samuel Mbambo who was appointed Governor of the Kavango Region early this year. Dunaiski has served on diplomatic missions in Germany, Angola and South Africa before.

Another seasoned diplomat Jerobeam Shaanika, who currently serves as Namibia's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, will now be Namibia's representative to Cuba, a position formerly held by Hopelong Ipinge. Morina Muuondjo, deputy director in the Ministry's Bilateral Affairs Department, has been posted to Sweden as Daniel Smith's replacement. Muuondjo has served in diplomatic missions in the United Nations and the United Kingdom before.

Current Charge de Affairs at the Switzerland Mission Simon Maruta becomes Namibia's new ambassador in Austria taking over from former Information Deputy Minister Raphael Dinyando.

History was also made by the appointment of Sabine Bohlke-Möller and Sophia Nangombe as first Namibian Ambassadors to the United Nations Office in Geneva (Switzerland) and Japan respectively since the missions were headed by a Charge d'Affaires.

Government sources said more postings could be announced later but for now Pohamba has set in motion his plan of changing diplomatic postings. The Namibian reported in May that Pohamba had recalled all his ambassadors for this reason.

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