Newly appointed defence minister Frans Kapofi has dismissed talks that he is among those in the governing party considered as President Hage Geingob’s successor, saying he does not have any ambitions for Swapo’s top leadership position.
“How can I be considered outside those leaders who are already in these structures? Why me? No…why me?”, Kapofi asked during an interview with New Era yesterday.
“I don’t have the ambition. I don’t intend to raise such ambitions, and I am satisfied with what I am doing. The honour that I have been given since the country’s independence is more than enough for me.”
Read more about Kapofi’s tell-all interview with New Era on page 8.
The 68-year-old Kapofi has served all three presidents, including a stint as Cabinet secretary between 1999-2015.
Kapofi has been a permanent secretary of various ministries of government since 1990.
From 2015 to 2018, he served as minister of presidential affairs. He was appointed minister of home affairs in a Cabinet reshuffle on 8 February 2018. After the 2019 general election, Kapofi retained his portfolio.
In a cabinet reshuffle last month, Kapofi moved to the defence ministry, following the resignation of Peter Vilho.
There have been rumours from Swapo insiders that Kapofi is being lined up for a senior role in the ruling party ahead of the next elective congress. When asked about this yesterday, he shot down these claims, saying it was the first time that he is hearing such talk.
“No, I don’t. I have not heard of that. This is the first time I am hearing, and I am hearing it from you. Who are these senior people inside Swapo that had said so, that are telling journalists, but are not talking to me? None of them have come to me,” he responded.
He said in Swapo, there are structures, laws, processes and procedures that are followed for a person to be elected into senior positions.
“There are party organs, bodies like the political bureau, central committee, and there are leaders there. I am not a member of any of those structures,” he clarified.
He said so far, he has been given a lot of responsibilities over the years by the three presidents, something for which he is grateful.
“I am grateful for my party and my leaders who have given me those responsibilities. I am sorry if I have failed them in any way, but I think I have done what was expected from me, and I continue to excel where I can,” he added.
“On the subject that you are referring to, sorry, I am not available,” Kapofi said laughingly.
When asked whether he will accept the invitation to stand as party president or vice president at the upcoming Swapo congress, Kapofi frankly said he won’t take up the offer.
“No one can do that. How can they do that? Somebody cannot just stand up and say Kapofi, stand as vice president or president. There are procedures and processes; there are already people in the leadership of the party, and they can take one of them,” he continued.
“How do I overshadow people who have been there and are already prepared for leadership? No, not Kapofi. The political bureau is the training ground for a serious leadership position, and I am not there. Kapofi is not there…,” he added.