August 28, 2002

NAMIBIA: Nujoma reshuffles Cabinet

Namibian President Sam Nujoma yesterday, Aug 27, appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Theo-Ben Gurirab Prime Minister, in a mini-Cabinet reshuffle, sending shockwaves across the country.

Nujoma, who was in an uncompromising mood when he announced his reshuffle, 'redeployed' Geingob, who has served as the country's Prime Minister for 12 years, to Minister of Regional, Local Government and Housing. Geingob, however, declined his new posting and tendered his resignation to Nujoma.

Gurirab is replaced at Foreign Affairs by former Trade Minister Hidipo Hamutenya.

Former Mines Minister Jesaya Nyamu takes over the Trade and Industry portfolio from Hamutenya, whose job was given to former Local Government Minister Nickey Iyambo.

Former Robben Island prisoner Andima Toivo ya Toivo is the new Prisons Minister - in a straight swap with Marco Hausiku who takes over the Labour portfolio.

Nujoma said he "realised that there is an urgent need to make further adjustments to the team who will assist me in my constitutional, state and ceremonial tasks" and to tackle problems of "hunger, disease, ignorance, crime, unemployment, drought, hopelessness, the land question and the HIV-AIDS pandemic in our country".

All other Ministers remained untouched although there was speculation earlier that some who have been implicated in corrupt practices would go.

Nujoma denied that he was emulating his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe with his actions. Mugabe dissolved his Cabinet at the weekend and appointed a new one made up mostly of his close war-time comrades.

Mugabe has also placed the Information portfolio under his office. Nujoma ran the Home Affairs Ministry for five months in 1995 before he appointed Jerry Ekandjo in the position. (The Namibian)

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