Parliamentary list crippling Geingob's choices

08 Feb 2018 17:10pm
By Charles Tjatindi
WINDHOEK, 08 FEB (NAMPA) – The Namibian parliamentary system, which fills the National Assembly seats based on party parliamentary list and by extension the choice of Cabinet, appears to affect ministerial posting.
This is the collective view of political commentators and analysts who reflected on President Hage Geingob’s address during the opening of Cabinet on Thursday.
Commenting on the Cabinet reshuffle, which saw ministers assigned new portfolios, political analyst Charles Mubita said while many expected the president to inject ‘new blood’ into Cabinet, he was constrained by the party list.
Mubita noted that all the president could do was recycle his ministers with the hope of getting more from them in their new posting.
“The list limits him, he has no choice but to choose from that list. I am sure if he had free rein, we would have seen a totally new and refreshed Cabinet,” he said.
Another political analyst, Ndumba Kamwanya is of the opinion that while the president is a believer of aligning ministers to portfolios that highly meet their skills and experience, such a process was missing in the latest reshuffling.
“Unfortunately it again comes down to the pool of people he has to choose from. If the list is slim in terms of what he is looking for, his choices become limited,” he noted.
Geingob also alluded to the difficulty posed by the party parliamentary list in his speech, when he made an analogy of how football teams are required to submit names of their players prior to games.
“Borrowing from football, when a coach leads his team to the World Cup, he has a maximum pool of 23 authorised players to select from.
“Similarly, the president, when appointing members of the executive, has to draw them from among the 104 members of the National Assembly, based on the party list,” he said.
On corruption, Mubita said although Geingob is eager to fight corruption and exhibit a climate of transparency around him, his executive are not following suit, which in turn weakens his ideals.
“He has led by example in many instances in fighting corruption and being accountable, but his Cabinet is not emulating him. As such he appears to be alone in that regard,” said Mubita.
Kamwanya however feels that the president should rather allow his track record to speak for itself, instead of feeding the nation with how he plans to tackle corruption.
“Despite the cases mentioned, we have had cases where people expected the president to immediately speak out against corruption, but that was not done,” he noted.