Dust refuses to settle on the alleged rift between the Director General of the Namibia Central Intelligence Services and President Hage Geingob, after it emerged this week that the Head of State had secretly brought back former spy chief, Lucas Hangula, from retirement.
Hangula retired as the head of the intelligence services in June 2015 and was replaced by Phillemon Malima, who the Windhoek Observer reported last week has fallen out of favour with the President Geingob.
The latest revelation regarding the presence of Hangula at the offices of the State Security Ministry comes after a feeble attempt at political spin by Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, who in a press statement released on Wednesday claimed that there is no rift between the president and Malima.
“The relationship between the director general and the president remains cordial and solid. At no point has the president instructed the director general to resign or risk being dismissed as being alleged,” Tweya wrote in the statement.
Despite his denial, Tweya’s further comments were rather telling.
“However, it is a standing truth that all political officer bearers serve at the behest of their appointing authority, the president. At any point in time, it is the president’s prerogative to appoint, reshuffle, relieve, promote or demote any member of his cabinet or other office which he can appoint.
“Any further rearrangement of Cabinet or other offices should be seen in this light and nothing should be linked to this malicious fabricated story, orchestrated by some fantastic minds, masquerading as journalism.”
While the Windhoek Observer could not immediately establish Hangula’s current role in the intelligence services, sources said the move by the president to bring back the former director general from retirement has created two centers of power within the country’s intelligence community.
When the Windhoek Observer contacted the NCIS offices this week, an official who asked for anonymity said Hangula was not in the office.
“He has not been in office since last week, as for Mr Malima, he is also not in and his PA David Gaseb is on leave coming back to work next week,” the official said.
This follows months of tension between Malima and Geingob, which culminated in last week’s expose by the Windhoek Observer that the spy chief was in hot water for saying that the president was protecting corrupt people linked to the SME Bank scandal.
Hangula was first appointed as the intelligence chief in 2005, shortly after Hifikepunye Pohamba was sworn in as Namibia’s second resident.
He previously served as the Inspector General of the Namibian Police.
Hangula replaced the late Peter Tshirumbu, who was the first Director General of NCIS under Dr Sam Nujoma’s administration.