• September 26th, 2018
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The constitutional prerogatives of the President

Columns, Comment
Columns, Comment

Joshua Razikua Kaumbi The President has the constitutional prerogative to appoint and relieve any person by and through the same process. This means that if person A was appointed on recommendation of the judicial or security commission, the President is expected to consult the structures in question before removing the said person. On the other hand, when he appoints or relieves members of his Cabinet, he can do it on his own. The only restriction is that such members should come from Parliament, both elected and appointed by the President by virtue of their expertise and skills. The members of the executive branch are both accountable individually for the administration of their own ministries and collectively for the administration of the work of the Cabinet, both to the President and to Parliament. As a departure point, the just ended Swapo Party Congress will have little impact on the composition of the current Cabinet whose term shall end in 2020. Thus, the ranking in the Central Committee or the Politburo of the Swapo Party at the moment is like a Grade 11 paper in the hands of a job seeker.  The paper s/he will produce is Grade 10. The situation can only change if the President decides to discard the members appointed by him previously and he elects to appoint new ones. This is a situation that is unlikely, given the fact that the term is nearly at the end. Secondly, the President’s choice can expand, if some members for some or other reason vacate their parliamentary seats and by doing so create space for the next person, i.e. the resignation of Hon. Muheua can result in Paula Kooper entering Parliament as a voting member and thus creating space on the President’s ticket. On the other hand the Constitution of the Republic states that the political party which nominated such member to sit in the National Assembly shall be entitled to fill the vacancy by nominating any person on the party’s election list compiled for the previous general election, or if there be no such person, by nominating any member of the party should a vacancy occur. Thus, being next does not qualify one, though precedent will carry the day. The Cabinet Handbook and/or manual expects members of the executive branch to act in unison or collectively. This means that even if one minister does not agree with the majority of the Cabinet members s/he is expected to defend the decision of the majority, or if guided by his inner voice, resign.  Thus, the decision of the majority in Cabinet eventually binds the lone dissenting voice. Having had ministers deviating and making a mockery of the attempts of his administration, the President, who is sensitive to public opinion, was left with no option but to read the Cabinet Handbook to his ministers again. It is imperative to note that it is President Hage Geingob’s administration, his legacy. In terms of the Constitution he does not need to provide reasons, and thus, he should be commended for justifying some of his actions hitherto. Given the leakage of only negative news about the government of late, both on local and international media, the President was eventually compelled to crack the whip in order for the centre to hold. The President should be commended that he allowed the two senior members to have a peaceful festive season, indicative of the fact that it was not an easy task for him personally but taken more in the interest of the country and most importantly setting the tone going forward. Whether we agree or not, the President had to act, in order to get the attention of his Cabinet. The message is thus clear that if you deliberately make a mockery of the President’s efforts and draw unnecessary negative attention on to his administration, you will have to be sacrificed for the greater good, whether best foot soldier or not. The movement of Peya Mushelenga to Urban should not be seen as a vote of no confidence in the current deputy, but more locating a person who will have a better understanding of the traditional authorities, given the fact that those on fire are all “native” ones. Moving up Simataa, the President is acknowledging that the said ministry since the advent of the Geingob era has conspicuously been absent. I opine that this is not the end of the re-alignment, and should not be. Appointing Nangolo Mbumba means there is once again a vacancy on the party list, as the vice-president vacates Parliament upon appointment. Whatever our understanding, this appointment will silence the criticism that the President is self-engaged. There is the position of Central Intelligence which appears to have multiple reporting points, and not good at all. The President might also bring about changes in the diplomatic mission, and some few elders, loyal, but having been around, can be sent on retirement, i.e. Asser Kapere, et al. We can only attempt to influence the decision of the President, but eventually it all boils down to him as the head of the administration.  The point is the actions of the President so far are encouraging. Well done Mr President, so far so good. • Joshua Razikua Kaumbi is a holder of a BA Political Science (Unam), LLB (Stellenbosch) and is a practising admitted attorney, currently on legal sabbatical. His opinions are expressed in his capacity.
2018-02-09 10:22:15 7 months ago
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