• November 14th, 2018
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Cabinet reshuffle round one?

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Columns

It is not clear whether the just effected Cabinet reshuffle signals his avowed and declared year of reckoning for 2018 or not. Because reactions to the reshuffle have been mixed. Some, including political observers and analysts, have welcomed it with some reservations and yet others not thinking much of it. But one thing that all and sundry seem to agree with is that it has been no more than a mere realignment and shifting of furniture. Also, it is not easy as to where to put a pulse in explaining the recent reshuffle, other than that the president merely feeling duty bound to be consequent on his word of making 2018 the year of reckoning. If reckoning has to be deduced and interpreted from the dismissal of two of the ministers, that of Sport, Youth and National Service, and that of Home Affairs and Immigration, the only two personas whom the president seems to have reckoned with thus far, then one cannot but conclude that this may only have been the first salvo and first round of the year of reckoning’s night of the swords, and more rounds and swords are still in store. How many rounds may still follow remain to be seen. But thus far one cannot really say this first round has seen any reckoning whether in the strictest interpretation of it or broadly. On the contrary, what one can deduce has transpired thus far is no more than political vendetta. When assuming duty as supreme servants of the people, His Excellency President Hage Geingob caused the institution of a performance appraisal system. Thus, reckoning, all things being equal, should be consonant with the performance of ministers based on their performance appraisal. All things being equal, meaning that there may be prima facie instances where the misdeeds committed override performance or non-performance and immediate action is necessary to stop the rot right away and forestall future ones. In fact that is why understandably some of the ministers have been shifted from one ministerial portfolio to another. With hindsight it can be said that some omissions, commissions and non-commissions by some other ministers other than the recent dismissal targets may far outweigh whatever the targeted may have been guilty of. But it remains to be seen whether any action would follow against these other ministers. Certainly, the two dismissed ministers cannot be the only ones in terms of non-performance. In fact, as much as former minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana may not solely claim credit for the achievements of the ministry of home affairs, and that her predecessors may have laid the foundation, she cannot be accused of undoing what her predecessors may have built. For the others who have been reshuffled, yes, personally they may not be involved but the fact that the rot has been rearing its ugly head, and under their watch, as much as such may have been oblivious to them, they needed to be held accountable. Whether personally involved or not, the fact that this has been happening under their watch, or before, but once the ministries become their watch they have not been able to smell the rot and/or see the smoke, they may have been compromised. Hence the rationale of reshuffling them. But reshuffling cannot be the beginning and end to the reported anomalies, including corruption. That is why one welcomes the assurance by the head of state that investigations are pending. Hoping that this may not have been said in passing. Yes, nothing may have been proven and concluded against some of the ministers as yet to be able to take any bold action against them. But the red lights indeed have been flickering as much as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) reportedly may not have been aware of such. And one cannot but hope that the ACC is becoming aware of such. The expectation seems that the president must have gone farther than he seems to have gone with his first major cabinet reshuffle, if it is worth referring to it as major. But the question that begs is whether indeed he has a rich pool of not only talented, experienced, dedicated women and women with integrity. Perhaps this may explain the president’s dilemma. But it is difficult to tell by the initial appointments, and even the latest reshuffle, that indeed lack of capacity is the real problem. In a way one cannot but commend the president for effecting change in some of the portfolios. Because the red lights have been flickering for some time in some of them for him to have waited any longer to take action. But as pointed out the reshuffle seems to have focused, and rightly so, only on rot-threatened ministries, performance notwithstanding. Or can it and should it be taken for granted that where there is rot there cannot be performance? Because definitely there are and there must be and have been ministries that have not been performing at all. But their captains seem to have been left intact and comfortable. Perhaps it is for continuity and stability, lest too many changes may have the undesired and unintended effect.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-16 10:52:30 8 months ago

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