Spy chief in firing line

04 August 2017 Author   Sonja Smith
The Namibia Central Intelligence Service Director General, Philemon Malima, is once again on the chopping block after he allegedly remarked to Attorney General, Sackeus Shanghala, that President Hage Geingob was protecting criminals involved in the SME Bank saga.
Impeccable sources told the Windhoek Observer this week that the spy agency chief’s relationship with the president continue to be strained after he was asked to resign or risk being fired in early June, over remarks he made to Shanghala following a Cabinet meeting sometime in May.
The Windhoek Observer has it on good authority that Geingob and Malima have been ruffling each other’s feathers for some time.
Narrating events that led to their latest squabble, sources said Malima was allegedly having an ‘innocent’ conversation with Shanghala in which he said Geingob is protecting criminals by refusing to take action against those who were in charge of the collapsed SME Bank.
Sources claimed that Mines and Energy Minister, Obeth Kandjoze, overheard their conversation and reported Malima to Geingob, who then wrote a letter to the central intelligence boss, asking him to resign or risk being fired.
Malima is said to have written back to Geingob, reminding him that was the one who had brought him out of retirement.
It is further claimed that Malima told the president in no uncertain terms that he was not prepared to leave his post now or interested in being redeployed either to a foreign posting or in a governor’s position.
Contacted for comment, Malima refused to talk to the Windhoek Observer, but sources said he told Geingob that asking him to resign months before the 2017 SWAPO Party elective congress would cause chaos and jeorpadise the country’s security.
This is not the first time the two elders had clashed. 
The Windhoek Observer reported last year that Malima had fallen foul of Geingob by declining on numerous occasions to authorise the carrying of huge contingency funds whenever the president travels.
Well-placed sources within State House told the Windhoek Observer at the time that Malima was on the verge of being ushered out of the door and being replaced by youthful Namibian Police Deputy Commissioner, Richard Erastus, who is head of the police force’s Information Communication and Technology (ICT) department.
Malima, a political veteran, who took over as head of the intelligence agency in June 2015, was called back from his retirement by Geingob after he, together with many others, helped engineer Geingob’s ascendency to higher office.
As a one-time Environment and Tourism Minister and a former Minister of Defense, Malima replaced Lieutenant General Lukas Hangula (Ret.) as the head of the Namibia Central Intelligence Service.

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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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