Eveline de Klerk and Obrein Simasiku
OMUTHIYA, WALVIS BAY - Former defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo has poured cold water on suggestions that his recent appointment as Oshikoto governor was a demotion. Ya Ndakolo was named the new governor in the place of Henock Kankoshi who served as the regional head for the past five years. A governor’s position is equivalent to that of a deputy minister and the defence portfolio is considered among the senior ministerial appointments and eclipses a governor’s position.
Prior to his appointment as defence minister, Ya Ndakolo also served as Oshikoto governor. He said what matters is not the seniority but the drive to continue serving the nation at any given level.
“I do not consider this position of governor as demotion because I have been serving at executive level, it is all about accepting new responsibility when given with a soul purpose of serving the entire community. That is why I accepted the position,” Ya Ndakolo told New Era yesterday.
“I am headed back to Oshikoto as a proud and happy person, with a purpose of being a servant to my people by serving their best interest, and I do not want to disappoint them. As a trained soldier, you will always have to accept any new tasks and responsibilities as assigned without fear or favour, because it has to be done for the benefit of the country.” Ya Ndakolo is not new to the political leadership in the region, as he was a regional councillor for Omuthiya constituency from 1992 to 2010 and Swapo district coordinator between 1990 and 1992. Meanwhile, Kankoshi yesterday told New Era he harbours no ill-feelings after failing to make the nod this time around.
“The President has the power to appoint and I appreciate the opportunity he accorded me to serve the nation for five years and I am confident I have done enough for my people. It was an honour indeed being a governor in executing duties as required by the head od state,” he said.
New Erongo governor raring to go
Meanwhile, newly appointed Erongo governor Neville Andre said he will prioritise housing, servicing of land as well as the formalisation process of informal settlements as part of his new assignment. The 40-year-old Andre replaced Cleophas Mutjavikua as the governor of the mineral-rich region. Andre, who was one of the first junior mayors of Walvis Bay and headboy of Kuisebmond Secondary School yesterday told New Era that it is indeed an honour for him to serve the region where his political footprints started and growing up in the dusty streets of Kuisebmond. Prior to his appointment as governor, Andre served as the personal assistant to the Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa.
“I will carry out my duties as required by the President and the residents of Erongo. That can, however, only be done if I work in close consultation with all the relevant stakeholders including regional and local authority leaders regardless of their political affiliation,” Andre said. He then explained that he was appointed by the President because of the cries of the people of Erongo. “That is exactly why I am here to listen and address the challenges such as the formalisation of informal settlements, housing and land delivery. Because the President heard your cries and appointed me to address them.” According to Andre, he will meet with Mutjavikua tomorrow to be brought up to date with everything pertaining to the region. He then applauded Mutjavikua for a commendable job done during his reign as governor.
“We should remember that he served the region well and the good he did should not be overshadowed by what happened during the past few days. I will still seek advice from him as he was a good leader,” he said.