Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (born October 11, 1952) is a Namibian politician and the Secretary-General of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO).
Early life, education, and exile
Iivula-Ithana was born in Uukwandongo, Omusati Region. In 1974 she went into exile and became one of the first woman fighters in the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN). She was active in the SWAPO Youth League and the SWAPO Women's Council whose Secretary she became in 1980.
Iivula-Ithana holds Bachelor of Laws and B.Juris degrees from University of Namibia (1999 and 1998), and a Diploma in Public Administration and Management from the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Zambia (1979).
Immediately prior to Namibian independence she was a SWAPO delegate to the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, and upon independence in March 1990 she became a member of the National Assembly of Namibia.
Iivula-Ithana served in several Cabinet positions. She was Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism from 1990 to 1991, Minister of Youth and Sport from 1991 to 1996, and Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation from 1996 to 2001. She was moved from the latter position to that of Attorney-General on January 26, 2001. In March 2005, when President Hifikepunye Pohamba took office, she was appointed to the additional post of Minister of Justice.
At SWAPO's August 2002 congress, Iivula-Ithana placed 23rd in the election for the Central Committee, receiving 310 votes. She was elected as Secretary-General of SWAPO at the party's November 2007 congress, becoming the first woman to hold that position.
Iivula-Ithana was one possible contender for SWAPO's presidential candidacy, a position determined at the end-2012 party congress. She lost to Hage Geingob and runner-up Jerry Ekandjo, coming third by a margin. This fifth SWAPO Congress was followed by a Cabinet reshuffle on 4 December 2012, in which she became Minister of Home Affairs.
When Iivula-Ithana became Secretary-General of SWAPO it was also decided that this post would become a full-time salaried position. It was consequently expected that she would leave her posts of Justice Minister and Attorney-General at the time of the next cabinet reshuffle. However, she remained in all three posts. It was reported that there were internal SWAPO disagreements regarding the issue of Iivula-Ithana's multiple jobs, with President Pohamba wanting to remove Iivula-Ithana from her Cabinet posts while former President Sam Nujoma's supporters wanted her to retain all posts and opposed implementing the resolution.
During her term as Justice Minister Iivula-Ithana clashed with the Namibian Magistrates Commission over the dismissal of a magistrate. The Magistrates Commission successfully sued her, the case is currently appealed by her in the Supreme Court of Namibia.