New cabinet to be appointed on merit

By Confidente Reporter

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has given a clear indication that his next Cabinet will be appointed on merit, and that he will specifically seek out candidates for Cabinet posts that can review key ministerial sectors to uncover any malfeasance.

The President was speaking at a Swapo Party Central Committee meeting in Windhoek this week. Geingob is expected to announce his new Cabinet ministers at the beginning of his second five-year term in March next year when the current administration completes its five-year term.

“In the next administration, I am looking to appoint ministers who have the necessary capability to review key sectors in a similar fashion so that any malfeasance can be uncovered and fair allocation methods, which benefit all Namibians, are introduced,” he said.

Regarding disgraced former justice minister Sakeus Shangala and his co-accused, ex-fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau, who are heavily implicated in the fishrot scandal, the President said he would have fired them had they refused to resign immediately.

“The question of whether they should have been fired or resigned overlooks the crucial outcome, that immediate action was taken to ensure they were no longer in their positions to allow for unhindered investigations,” Geingob said.

“I am not a policeman, prosecutor, judge or jailer. For that, I am obliged to allow the criminal justice system to work, unhindered by executive interference. Let us allow those tasked with ensuring a fair trial and due process to execute their duties.”

He said there is a troubling narrative that the executive branch is attempting to interfere in investigations related to this case. “These insinuations of executive interference in the case of the ministers are devoid of any truth and are part of a disturbing trend of biased reporting, which has characterized my tenure,” he said.

President Geingob further stressed that he is an ardent defender of independent institutions, which includes his recognition and defence of the media as the fourth estate.

“As leaders, we have no benefit in attacking either the media or the criminal justice system, which includes the judiciary. My suggestion to the media is that in as much as their independence is respected, they too should respect the independence of the criminal justice system and refrain from casting unnecessary and damaging aspersions on its credibility,” he said.

“Sensationalism, character assassinations and publication of unverified rumours should not be the default option of a credible media.”

He said the Swapo Party would work to improve its lines of communication with the media as the party recognizes that as an area that needs improvement, adding that, “We too wish to see the media introspect and resolve the challenges that diminish their ability to offer fair and objective commentary.”