20. March 2015

Geingob announces Cabinet

Prime Minister and President-elect Hage Geingob this morning made the third and final announcement on his Cabinet before his inauguration on Saturday.

Geingob announced many changes to ministerial portfolios and the people who will occupy those positions. One of the biggest changes comes at education. Geingob split the ministry into two. He said: “I have looked at our education system. All of us are complaining. Something is wrong.”

Geingob also created the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. About the new emphasis on the arts he said, “there are many of our artists who don't get support, [who are] struggling. Arts is important. It means culture and arts must enjoy attention.”

Other new portfolios are the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises and the Ministry of Poverty Eradication. The trade ministry will now be known as Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. The local government ministry was renamed to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.

Namibia will now have a ministry of land reform. Geingob joked that he was looking for Job Amupanda, recently suspended from Swapo because of land activism, to work as the Minister of Land Reform. “But he is not in Parliament,” said Geingob.
The Ministry of Labour becomes Labour, Industrial Relations and Job Creation. Geingob asked the media to contradict him in his belief that unemployed people do not have degrees and skills training.

The President-elect further announced that the newly established Office of the Vice President will deal with veterans and issues concerning marginalised people. The Deputy Minister in the Presidency, who will handle the matters of physically challenged people, is Alexia Manombe-Ncube.

A full list of Geingob's Cabinet is avaibalbe at http://www.namibian.com.na/public/uploads/documents/550bb712a109e/%20Ministers.pdf

While some analysts have welcomed the new Cabinet announced by President-elect Hage Geingob yesterday, they also said it remains to be seen how the ministries will function.
Geingob created four new ministries and renamed seven others. He also picked eleven new faces to Cabinet as well as four advisers under the Presidency.

Institute for Public Policy Research executive director Graham Hopwood said the new ministries and the renamed ones stress the priorities of the new President, which include poverty alleviation, job creation, industrialisation and improved State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) governance. “I am not certain about the logic of creating a ministry to eradicate poverty since this arguably should be the responsibility of a range of ministries including economic planning, industrialisation, finance, job creation, rural and urban development,” said Hopwood.

He said that on a positive note, it was refreshing to see new faces in charge of education and health portfolios, with a good deal of hope that these appointees can deliver. Hopwood further said the prospect of performance contracts and monitoring and evaluation reports on ministers is a welcome development. “Hopefully, it will have the effect of galvanising those figures who served without a lot of distinction in the Pohamba Cabinet to reach new heights,” he said.

Another analyst,Victor Tonchi said some of the people on the list have worked diligently and were simply being rewarded for their hard work. Tonchi, however, said although Geingob has picked a Cabinet of new faces, he also retained some of the old guard.
He said Geingob, who has on several occasions complained about the poor implementation of policies, now has an opportunity to ensure that this happens.

However, there also remains the concern that Geingob, who will be sworn in as the head of state tomorrow, might be stretching the wage budget because of his new enlarged team.
DTA president McHenry Venaani argued that the money could be spent on more critical needs rather than on the salaries of the new ministers.

“I fear that the system is heavily bloated. We already have a large civil service. Hage needs to downsize the civil services and divert more resources to poverty,” he said.
Venaani also said he feared that government was trying to create unnecessary “super ministries” and reclycling old faces. “Let us see how they will perform in the first 100 days. When I sit with him (Hage) one on one, I'd like him to tell me how he will handle all these ministries,” he said. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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