14 Feb 2018 08:50am
WINDHOEK, 13 FEB (NAMPA) Former Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Jerry Ekandjo, has downplayed talks that his recent removal from the ministerial role was an act of vengeance for trying to unseat President Hage Geingob.
In an exclusive interview with Nampa shortly after opening of the seventh session of the sixth Parliament in the capital, Ekandjo said there was no bad blood between him and the President.
I have no ill feelings. That is what the press said. The press wants to make something out of small things, he said.
When asked whether Geingobs decision to give him marching orders was premised on what transpired in the run-up to the Swapo congress last year as purported by media reports, he said; That is your assertion, not me. That is how you understand. You dont understand Swapo. You must separate the executive [Swapo from the Government]. The press mixes everything.
Ekandjo reasoned that he has been a leader in Swapo for almost 50 years, hence, his removal from Cabinet merely paves the way for new blood.
I dont understand why the press is concerned that Jerry Ekandjo is not in Cabinet. Do you really think Jerry Ekandjo can be in Cabinet for 100 years? he asked, adding that he has been a Cabinet member for the last 27 years.
In the run-up to the Swapo elective congress last year, Ekandjo and former Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, accused Geingob and the government of among other things being weak, elitist and driving the Namibian economy into junk status.
At the congress, Ekandjo and former Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, under the banner of the now defunct Team Swapo lost to Geingob for Swapos Presidency.
On the other hand, Iivula-Ithana challenged Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, for the position of Swapo Vice President.
Nandi-Ndaitwah, who was Geingobs preferred candidate for the position, emerged victorious over Iivula-Ithana, who was Team Swapos candidate.
Before Geingob announced his new Cabinet here last week, both Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana were axed from their ministerial positions.
Since losing his Cabinet, Swapo central committee and Swapo political bureau positions, Ekandjo remains tight-lipped on his leadership ambitions in the ruling party.
Every Swapo member has the right to elect and to be elected. This [Cabinet reshuffle] is just arranging furniture in your house, he stated.