WINDHOEK – If Swapo presidential candidate Dr Hage Geingob wins next month’s presidential election, as widely expected, one of his first assignments would be to appoint at least four new regional governors. The incumbents for Khomas, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto are all in pole position to make it to parliament, after featuring favourably on the Swapo parliamentary list following its recent electoral college. Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua is ranked second on the party list by virtue of being Swapo’s deputy secretary general, while Omusati’s Sophia Shaningwa is ranked 20th. Oshikoto Governor Penda ya Ndakolo is 41st, with Usko Nghaamwa of Ohangwena at number 55. Depending on how Swapo performs in the National Assembly election, there is chance that //Karas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi, ranked 75th on the party list, could also go to parliament. The Hardap regional governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa also competed at the electoral college, ending 80th on the list. By availing themselves for election at the electoral college, it is believed these governors would opt to vacate their current positions for parliament instead of continuing to serve as regional heads. “Obviously, the reason why they availed themselves is because they want to go to parliament, which draws them a step closer to Cabinet,” a commentator who preferred anonymity told New Era yesterday. “Some of the governors have been posted to rural regions and are probably not happy in those areas. You feel isolated and forgotten although that might not necessarily be the case.” Some commentators believe that some governors have served for too long in their positions and are probably in search of fresher challenges. Of the governors destined for parliament, McLeod-Katjirua is the longest serving after ascending to the governorship of Omaheke in 2001. Ya Ndakolo, a former councillor for the Omuthiya Gwiipundi Constituency, became a governor ten year ago, in 2004, while Nghaamwa assumed the same poition in Ohangwena nine years ago – in 2005. Shaningwa became governor of Khomas in December 2004, after former governor – the late John Pandeni – was elected to parliament the same year. Nghaamwa, who would be heading to parliament with his wife Lucia after she came 44th on the list, said he wanted to serve Namibians in a different capacity, hence his decision to vie for parliament. “I did not apply when I became a governor, I did not apply now. It is the nation that wants me to serve, I have only accepted the call,” Nghaamwa said. Ya Ndakolo, a member of the Swapo central committee, said: “Wherever I may find myself, I will always look back at Oshikoto Region with a heart full of joy and pride.” Listing some of his achievements, Ya Ndakolo added: “Water was a problem in this region, but today communities have water and access to rural electrification. “When I joined Oshikoto Regional Council, Omuthiya was not there – there were no pipes from the main water pipe, we could not talk about telephone lines, there was no settlement -there was nothing.” Swapo’s Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu did not avail himself for election at the electoral college, and this has fuelled talk he might be Ya Ndakolo’s replacement as governor. Amukwiyu previously stated he wanted to focus on growing his business. Namibian High Commissioner to Botswana Hadino Hishongwa has been linked to the governor’s position for Ohangwena, while former Swapo member of parliament in the National Council, John Hakaye, and the party’s regional coordinator for Omusati, Erkki Endjala, have been touted as possible replacements for Shaningwa in that region. In terms of the Special Advisors and Regional Governors Appointment Act that came into effect in 2010, the country’s president is responsible for appointing governors. Previously, governors were elected during the regional and local authority elections. Government said the amendment to the law regarding governors was necessary to eliminate the inherent weakness of elected candidates serving as constituent and regional leaders concurrently. The new legislative arrangement is supposed to allow regional governors to play a more effective role in championing socio-economic development at those levels.
New Era Reporter
2014-10-15 09:05:09 4 years ago