Yesterday’s Cabinet reshuffle – described by some as old wine in new bottles – presents an opportunity to reinvigorate the country and place it on a growth path. Politics aside, the long-awaited change of guard gives the country a sense of hope for a better future. We therefore prefer to avoid the noise and rather focus on fundamentals. In time we might look back at these events and realise that they were the catalyst for good change to come. For starters, the country has been gripped by uncertainty, or even fear, because of the long speculation about change which was inevitably coming. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, many officials spent their time wondering whether they’d still have jobs after a reshuffle had been announced, especially in light of their political choices and preferences at the 2017 Swapo congress – real or perceived. With the majority maintained in their jobs and many others shifted to key portfolios, what remains now is hard work. Change – especially in this context – brings about excitement and hunger to succeed in new jobs. Three deputy ministers were elevated to the level of minister, perhaps an indication that President Hage Geingob saw their potential and wanted to give them liberty to work. It’s now up to ministers Stanley Simataa, Peya Mushelenga and Erastus Utoni, and of course the youthful Sakeus Shanghala, to vindicate the President’s bold decision to appoint them. Since December, the country has experienced tremors, not only of the seismic kind, that left many a citizen anxious. It took long to announce the changes, but since they are now here, we must embrace them. This reshuffle, we hope, is not shaped along political opportunities of individuals but that it was made with a full consciousness of the state we find our country in, especially from an economic vantage. We thus anticipate stronger economic outcomes as a result, at least in part, from this exercise. Our only concern is that this is a missed opportunity to increase the number of women in Cabinet, especially in view of the fact that the reshuffle was in part due to two female ministers, Sophia Shaningwa and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, leaving their positions. With the progress made so far in empowering Namibian women, this exclusion sets us a few steps backward insofar as gender equality in the high echelons of government is concerned. None of these issues must be a reason not to deliver. The men occupying these positions must help us out of our troubles and vindicate the President by performing so well that we forget the gender aspect. We’re thankful that the reshuffle was pretty modest. Rocking the boat would have disrupted continuity – something we cannot afford under the circumstances. The nation is now called upon to give its full support to the government in general and the new (or redeployed) ministers so that they help us reach our set national development goals such as Vision 2030, NDP5 and Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
2018-02-09 10:04:02 7 months ago