Namibia: Geingob Parts Ways With Special Adviser Akwenye

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has not renewed the contract of his advisor Penny Akwenye.

Akwenye (68) served as Geingob's adviser for implementation and monitoring of government programmes.

Akwenye, Geingob's constitutional adviser, Inge Zamwani-Kamwi (63), John Steytler who was economic adviser, then press secretary Albertus Aochamub and youth affairs advisor Daisry Mathias were appointed in June 2015.

Akwenye confirmed to The Namibian that her last working day at State House was 20 March 2021.

She however, denied that she has been dismissed.

"It has nothing to do with age. My contract was not renewed. I also wanted to go home. I have been in Windhoek for too long and I also wanted to go to the village where I was born and bred. I am from there...life goes on," Akwenye said yesterday.

She also told The Namibian last week that: "I was ready to go after term one, but the president wanted me to finish certain work, which I did. This is my last response as there is no network where I am, I have to go and look for it."

Asked whether she will be replaced, Akwenye said: "That is not for me to say. Talk to Hengari. Maybe he can ask the president."

Hengari yesterday also confirmed that Akwenye's contract came to an end last month following the launch of Harambee Prosperity Plan II on 18 March 2021.

"President Hage Geingob thanked madame Penny for her more than five years of loyal service as adviser, and wished her well in her retirement and future endeavours," Hengari said.

He added "with regards to appointments to the advisory team, president Geingob will take a decision at an appropriate time befitting his calendar on who to appoint as adviser." Hengari added that Geingob did not renew Akwenye's contract because she had indicated that she "wanted to be with her husband".

Akweenye was chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia before her State House appointment.

This is not the first time Geingob has parted ways with people close to him. In 2018, he released his adviser for community affairs, the late Jeff Mbako.

This happened a few months after he had dismissed special assistants such as the daughter of former Swapo secretary general the late Moses ||Garöeb, Tuli Garoës, Wensel Mavara and Rachel Gowases.

He also sacked one of his security aides Ben Kavaendapi.

Advisers such as Steytler and Aochamub resigned in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

At the time of his resignation, there was speculation that Steytler had fallen out with Geingob.

He was quoted by state-owned publication New Era as saying he resigned for personal reasons linked to the death of his elder sister the previous year.

"I have had a problem coping with that situation. It got to a point where I was consistently booked off and I started constantly feeling guilty of being perpetually away from such an important national responsibility.

"Resignation was not an easy decision. I don't sit here thinking I am the best economist in the country. Many people could have been appointed in that capacity, but I was the chosen one. It was a real honour to serve. So you can imagine how difficult it must have been to resign," he was quoted as saying.

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