Geingob breaks silence on Mbumba, Kafula, Amupanda
Prime Minister and Swapo presidential candidate Hage Geingob has opened up on the eve of tomorrow’s general elections about the recent controversies around the party’s secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba, Windhoek mayor Agnes Kafula and suspended youth leader Job Amupanda.
In an interview with Namibian Sun on Wednesday, Geingob said although Mbumba had apologised for calling Swapo supporters “commoners” at a recent Windhoek rally, the SG did not contextualise his comment by explaining why he had said so.
Geingob said the party’s politburo will be meeting to discuss Mbumba’s comment, because President Hifikepunye Pohamba felt it did not go down well with party supporters.
“I kept on saying that we have become too tribal in this country. We are becoming too ethnic. When you are even addressing national issues, we bring in our languages and I kept on warning about it,” Geingob said of Mbumba’s comment, which was made in Oshikwanyama.
Asked if Mbumba should be suspended, as Amupanda had been after he illegally occupied a Kleine Kuppe plot, Geingob said the two issues were different.
“Is the thing that Job [Amupanda] did the same thing as what the SG did?” Geingob questioned.
In terms of Kafula, who has been in the headlines over alleged dubious plot sales in the City, Geingob said she had written to him to explain what had happened.
“I have a letter from her explaining how decisions were taken and that they were collective decisions. And when the case of her son, came she recused herself and the others decided. Whether they were scared of her or not, I do not know,” Geingob said.
However, he added that he did not like what he was hearing, but as a leader he is bound by the three tier government system.
“The national government cannot interfere with the duties of the chairperson of a regional government, as well the duties of a mayor. Of course you hear, but you must also be careful as a leader. There is a process of the law.”
He added that some of the things that Kafula stands accused of “are lies” and that one is innocent until proven guilty.
Geingob also spoke for the first time publically about his demotion by then president Sam Nujoma in 2002, when he lost his prime minister post and went to work for non-governmental organisation in the United States.
He stressed that many do not understand his relationship with Nujoma.
“I was shaped by what I did in Swapo.
Before I went, I wrote a letter thanking him for having had me under his wings, for having given me the opportunities.”
He added that he had promised Nujoma that wherever he goes, he will sell Swapo.
Nujoma, according to Geingob said: “I know that you are a Pan-Africanist, wherever, you go, you will serve the interest of Namibia, Swapo and Africa.”
Talking about accessibility of national leaders, Geingob said he is accessible to journalists and anyone who writes to him.
“Sometimes you get a crank call, where you have someone insult you. Security people are trained for this kind of thing. I fight with them to protect me from that kind of situation. You had people like Olof Palme (assassinated Swedish prime minister), who was always going to the movies with his wife alone. He did not want security and someone who wanted to remove him did so. Up to now, they did not find the person who did it.”
He stressed that although his bodyguards have the assignment of protecting him, this does not mean he is not open to people.
Geingob said if he steps into State House, he will introduce public town hall meetings, where ordinary citizens can interact with him.
“We cannot be elected by people and after they vote for you, then I forget about them. I promise you, I will go around and have town hall meetings with the people.”
About the now-defunct NBC TV show ‘Prime Minister’s Question Time’, he said he had requested at the end of last year that it should be removed, as some may have accused him of using the programme to campaign.
However, NBC had stopped it earlier than he had anticipated.
“The idea was not to be accused of using that programme to campaign.”
Commenting on Swapo camps emanating from the party’s 2012 ordinary congress, where he emerged victorious, Geingob said his recent campaigns proved to be popular and were attended by those who challenged him at the congress.
He said what angered certain people was their perception that certain individuals had propelled him into his Swapo leadership position.
“Their anger is geared towards those who they regard as my makers.”
WINDHOEK ELVIS MURARANGANDA