The Presidency yesterday said President Hage Geingob has in the past gone out of his way to accommodate requests by former health minister Dr Bernhard Haufiku, including the appointment of a deputy minister and executive director of his choice.
Haufiku was removed as presidential special advisor on health matters last week after a fallout with health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula over government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the Presidency said Shangula had recommended to Geingob to withdraw Haufiku from the ministry of health “pursuant to incidences of causing ‘discord among team members’ and ‘disclosure of information’ discussed during strategic meetings with the ‘media without prior clearance’."
According to the Presidency, the conduct of Haufiku was viewed as a distraction from the core responsibility of managing the Covid-19 pandemic successfully.
“In that vein, the head of state applied his mind and terminated on 30 July 2020 the appointment of Dr Bernard Haufiku as special advisor by virtue of the powers vested in the President by Article 32 (6) of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia,” read the statement.
Haufiku was appointed health advisor in December 2018, three years after he was recalled as substantive minister.
The Presidency said Geingob had acceded to demands by Haufiku in 2015 when he appointed him as health minister.
“Dr Haufiku agreed to join Cabinet with the accompanying request to work with a senior team of his choice.
In light of the high premium President Geingob places on service delivery, specifically in the health sector, the demands of Dr Haufiku, which included a preferred deputy minister and executive director, were met.
In acceding to these demands, the President deviated from the norm and practice in the appointment of ministers and deputy ministers, which are the exclusive preserve of the head of state as per Article 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia,” the Presidency said.
“However, Dr Haufiku could not work effectively within the team and was in conflict with the deputy minister and the executive director he had requested to be onboarded. Several meetings with the top executive leadership of the country notwithstanding, Dr Haufiku did not demonstrate the ethos of collective responsibility as enjoined by the Cabinet Handbook. Dr Haufiku continued to speak out of turn with the press, in contravention of responsibilities as a member of the executive and the Cabinet collective.”
In an interview with local Afrikaans daily Republikein yesterday, Haufiku confirmed Shangula pushed for his sacking. Haufiku also confirmed receiving a letter from Geingob, informing him that his contract as a special advisor on health matters has been terminated with immediate effect.
He told the Republikein that the letter of termination, delivered by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, had three attachments in the file.
“The third is the letter written by Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the current minister of health and social services, written to the President, requesting the President for my removal from the national Covid-19 response on the ground that my presence has become untenable. [That] I am too self-righteous; I am not a team player – and as a result, it has become impossible for me to continue working with them,” Haufiku said.
The other attachment, he said, was a copy of his appointment as a special advisor to the Presidency, as well the copy of the Windhoek Observer newspaper in which he recently criticised government over the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That’s what happened today. So, as of today, I am no longer the special advisor to the vice president, president, government or minister of health with immediate effect,” he was quoted as saying.
He continued that he was not given a platform to explain himself.
2020-08-04 09:09:12 | 1 months ago