I did not apply for Parliament – Sankwasa

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

WORKS and Transport deputy minister James Sankwasa says he is not losing any sleep over his failure to secure a seat in the new Parliament. Sankwasa was answering questions from Confidente this week following the announcement of National Assembly election results, which showed that the ruling party lost 14 seats, leaving several party leaders, including Sankwasa, to fall below the cut-off line.

The Swapo Party, however, retains a majority in the National Assembly, with 63 out of 96 seats.

Asked if he thinks President Hage Geingob will save his political career by re-appointing him to Parliament, Sankwasa said, “The President has the prerogative to appoint ministers and deputy ministers. He still has his sole power to nominate the eight members of Parliament according to what he considers prudent, and skills he thinks will best serve Namibia.

“I was given an opportunity to serve my country. I did not apply for parliament. So there is nothing to feel bad or good about it.” He added that if he does not go to Parliament next year, he will miss the debates that have academic, political, economic development implications and that impact on Namibia and her citizens. “Parliament requires robust debating of issues,” the transport deputy minister remarked.

Oshakati Mayor Katrina Shimbulu said that she is ready to move on from Oshakati Town Council where she has been a councilor since 1997 until she expressed her willingness to retire this year to conform with the constitutional provision that compels regional and local councillors, employees, as well as public servants who wish to run for a seat in the National Assembly to resign from their posts.

She added that she is thankful to the Oshakati electorate for the trust they have shown in her for electing her as councillor for the past 22 years. “I don’t regret it. I was a local authority councilor, I was not even an employee. You may know how much money we used to get per month, called allowance, it cannot make a difference whether I am working or I am not working.

“I say thanks very much because I am also released to go and start ploughing my land to feed the child that is with me here, and I can also thank the community of Oshakati, as they have been electing me from 1997 until today. I have been there since the establishment of Oshakati Town Council.

“It’s also good to give opportunity to new people to come in. I don’t regret, that is why I engaged myself. When I heard the results I celebrated. If you were following, it’s like I was at the centre of the campaign in Oshana region. I celebrated the results 100 percent. I was at Swapo Party, [we were] enjoying ourselves. I was the one who was leading the celebration,” she said.