22 December 2017

Namibia: Ekandjo Tells Geingob I Did Not Violate the Constitution

DEFEATED youth minister Jerry Ekandjo denied suggestions by President Hage Geingob that he violated the constitution when he questioned the leadership of the ruling party, Swapo, and government.

Geingob wrote to Ekandjo on 8 December 2017 asking the youth minister to explain why he made statements that questioned the party leadership in the run-up to the elective congress.

In the letter, Geingob reminded Ekandjo about three statements he made in the state-owned New Era newspaper on 6 and 14 November.

"I refer to the recently concluded Swapo Party congress, the nature and content of campaign messages associated in addition to that," Geingob said.

One of Ekandjo's quotes Geingob cited, said: "The current Swapo leadership is weak, that is why the government is weak".

Another one said: "Swapo is weak and needs cadres like me to rescue it from its economic slumber".

The third said: "Team Swapo has accused those in charge of the party of being the cause of economic instability, rising youth unemployment and self-enrichment by the elite".

Geingob reminded Ekandjo that the Swapo constitution and rules guide how everyone should behave.

"It is evident that the manner in which your campaign was conducted is against the grain of these values," the President said.

Geingob also said that Ekandjo's decision to question the party leadership is contrary to the party rules.

"I have carefully considered your utterances, particularly in relation to your position as a senior party member and minister," the President said, reminding Ekandjo that he swore to protect Cabinet decisions.

Geingob did not warn or hint that he will fire Ekandjo but said that he expects party members to support the new Swapo leadership and Cabinet.

"I am duty bound to direct you to advise how your utterances can be reconciled with your duty to serve as a member of my Cabinet and as my appointee, whom I expect to serve with due diligence, loyalty and objective support when you stated that I am weak," the President said.

The President said by making utterances that questioned the government, Ekandjo had acted against the country's Constitution. Ekandjo, however, responded to Geingob last week in a letter in which he insisted that he did not violate the Constitution during the campaign.

"Nor have I in any manner or form breached my ministerial obligations and accountability in relation to the ministry I head and/or any Cabinet decisions, that may have been taken to which I am bound by collective responsibility to adhere [to] even if I held an adverse view," Ekandjo said.

Ekandjo also said what he said were things which Geingob and former leaders such as Sam Nujoma said before the congress.

He said the statements quoted by Geingob as his sins were not made in his capacity as a Cabinet minister but "in my personal capacity as an individual member of the Swapo Party". The campaign, he further said, was not about the national elections or government affairs.

Ekandjo also said Geingob himself admitted that there was a weak leadership.

"President, your acknowledgement of a "weak administration" of our leadership, as a direct result of "misunderstandings" as the "biggest challenges" and violation of our own constitutional and rules provisions, is significant in many ways, you expounded with a commitment that you endeavour," he said. He reminded Geingob that a new beginning should be embraced by all Swapo members, including addressing weaknesses in the party's leadership.

Ekandjo said he would continue to provide unconditional loyalty to Geingob.

"I shall, Comrade President, continue to demonstrate my unconditional loyalty to the elected President of the Republic of Namibia and that of Swapo, in your person comrade President, and the entire Swapo party leadership, and adherence to Cabinet decisions," he said.

Ekandjo added that his loyalty includes his dedication in implementing Swapo promises and government policies. Ekandjo yesterday denied receiving a letter from Geingob or writing a response.

The Namibian obtained the letters from one of Geingob's supporters who wanted to show how the President was dealing with the Ekandjo issue.


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