Youthful Swartbooi heading to Parliament

03 Dec 2014 13:30pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 03 DEC (NAMPA) – The governor of the //Karas Region, Bernadus ‘Clinton’ Swartbooi is on his way to Parliament.
The Swapo-Party won 77 seats of the new 96-seat Parliament to take office on 21 March 2015. Swartbooi was in 75th position on the party list.
Speaking to Nampa after casting his vote in Tseiblaagte at Keetmanshoop on Friday, the firebrand //Karas leader shared his views on what he expected the new Parliament to look like.
“If by God’s grace I get to Parliament, I would like to see a Parliament with parliamentarians who apply their minds, who read and who do research,” he said.
Swartbooi noted that parliamentarians should at least use Internet search engine Google for information before parliament sessions.
The 37-year-old politician said he had no time for parliamentarians “who hide behind their positions as powerless juniors or backbenchers and who make or debate issues along party and ethnic affiliations”.
He said parliamentarians should participate and lead the way in bringing results to those who vote for them.
Swartbooi promised that once in Parliament, he would 'have a voice, speak his mind' and challenge every rule there is if it meant assisting the new president and fellow lawmakers in bringing solidarity and progress to the nation.
Speaking to this agency on Tuesday afternoon after the release of final elections' results on Monday evening, Swartbooi’s mood was light, joyful and inclusive.
“There were times over the weekend when I was really worried, so I was so relieved to have made it,” he laughed.
Swartbooi said Swapo expected a run-away win of between 78 and 80 seats, but could not be certain of the final turnout.
“After the last Windhoek rally I thought we’re through. I had no doubt we would get a big number of seats, but yes, there were some nail-biting moments,” he related to this reporter.
On a serious note, Swartbooi said the mandate to Parliament was not something to take lightly.
“It is not something to play with; the President-elect (Hage Geingob) said so too after the results were announced. It is serious and so is the expectation. What is expected of us is to hit the ground running, work hard and smart, and we must all add value,” he said.
Asked about plans and procedures for the soon-to-be vacant governor position he currently occupies, Swartbooi had this to say: “There have not been any discussions yet. It will be the new president’s prerogative – he has the right to appoint the next governor.”
The young Keetmanshoop native was placed in his current position by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in December 2010 to serve as governor of the region four years ago. He took over from Dawid Boois.
At the time, Swartbooi was self-employed and had started a business with a partner in construction and agriculture. When he was called up for the governor position, Swartbooi had resigned from his company and was making plans for further studies in the United States of America.
Previously, the law graduate and qualified teacher had worked as a public prosecutor and later as special assistant to the late deputy Prime Minister (PM) Hendrik Witbooi, followed by former deputy PM Libertina Amathila. After political differences with the latter, he was moved to serve as a legal advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister.
When his contract ended, Swartbooi worked in the Swapo-Party office while serving on the Swapo-Party Youth League executive committee.
A former president of student body, Nanso, he was tagged with his nickname ‘Clinton’ – in reference to former American president Bill Clinton.