Time to deliver

06 December 2012
Author  

PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba could not have timed his Cabinet reshuffle this week any better. The reshuffle came in the wake of last weekend’s fifth ordinary congress of Swapo that ushered in major changes in the party’s top leadership.

 

The new-look Cabinet, with Hage Geingob as prime minister, sends an important signal.

It sends out the message that Pohamba has a renewed sense of urgency about tackling the many economic, social and administrative ills facing the country.

Let’s face it – the old Cabinet had become stale, lethargic, complacent and marked by a complete lack of direction.

We sincerely hope that the changes President Pohamba has made will reinvigorate the Government.

Maybe the Government will now start following through by implementing and executing the many policy initiatives it has announced over the years.

The president could perhaps have gone even further but regrettably, he has left many non-performing and frankly incompetent ministers in office.

He simply moved some of the dead wood around to new ministries in the same old never-ending game of musical chairs.

This country can no longer afford the practice of appointing people to serve as minister in order to reward them for past service during the liberation struggle.

The Namibian economy and society has become increasingly sophisticated and complex and needs people with an array of technical, financial and administrative skills as well as political astuteness.

The country further needs people with a modern and forward-looking outlook who understand the world outside Namibian borders and how the global economy functions.

In this harsh new world order, small countries like Namibia cannot expect favours from anyone, and they have to go out and grab their share of the cake by whatever means possible.

Pohamba, of course, had to walk a very fine tightrope when he made the changes to his Cabinet.

In the spirit of the just-ended Swapo congress, he had to take into consideration the problem of maintaining party unity and avoid humiliating any faction in the party.

Pohamba did this masterfully. Some ministers might have initially seen their new assignment as a demotion, but they all accepted the decision in good spirit in the end.

This includes former Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Kazenambo Kazenambo who says he voluntarily chose to bow out of politics.

This country will one day have reason to thank the much-maligned Kazenambo for steering it onto the course of justice and equity.

The president redeployed both former Prime Minister Nahas Angula and former Minister of Justice Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana to Defence and Home Affairs respectively.

These are two of the most senior ministries in Government, and neither should have any real reason for complaining.

We also congratulate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on her well-deserved appointment to the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Her soft-spoken demeanour hides a quiet determination, and a good degree of common sense, that makes her a real woman of substance.

A Masters Degree in Diplomatic Studies and a post-graduate Diploma in International Relations should stand her in good stead in her new position.

We need technocrats like these in Government and not some old Memes or |Tates appointed to the position of minister for no particular reason that anyone can think of.

The Government has repeatedly announced initiatives to deal with poverty, unemployment, low educational standards and the housing shortage.

Other issues include the poor state of health services, the high price of farmland and black economic empowerment, but it has so far failed to act decisively.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the time to deliver has come now.

One hopes that under the guidance of new Prime Minister Geingob, the Government will start implementing the Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg).

It needs to speed up the roll out the programme but at the same time ensure that it carries it out in an orderly and efficient manner that cuts out corruption and waste.

The new prime minister also needs to start holding ministers and permanent secretaries accountable.

We can no longer afford business as usual!

The Government can no longer continue to reward perennial failure and poor performance by some ministers and permanent secretaries with sideways moves to another ministry.

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WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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