Iithete says ministerial contract ended gracefully

07 July 2020 | Government

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



Former finance deputy minister Natangwe Iithete has reacted publicly for the first time to losing his job, saying his contract as deputy minister had ended “gracefully”.

Perceived to have been an integral part of what was known as Team Harambee, a campaign group of President Hage Geingob for the 2017 Swapo elective congress, Iithete was a surprise omission from Geingob's new government.

The now ordinary member of parliament in the National Assembly says he harbours no ill feelings because his contract had ended.



Not removed

“I was not removed. I was appointed for five years and I finished my term. Removal would mean I was removed from my ministerial post in the middle of my term, but that's not what happened.

“I'm glad I was granted an opportunity to serve and finish my term of office. Everyone – myself and my family – knew I was only appointed for five years, so it's not a surprise.

“We are more than two million people in Namibia, so someone else can be given an opportunity to serve like I did. It can't just be Iithete.” The Swapo MP had a frosty relationship with then finance minister Calle Schlettwein, with whom he clashed over a host of issues in the finance ministry. Schlettwein is now the minister of lands and agriculture.



More deputies?

The ministry of finance currently has no deputy minister, as do other portfolios such as justice, higher education, public enterprises and environment and tourism.

This is in line with Geingob's attempt to curb costs and arrest the ballooning public wage bill, State House previously said. Some countries, such as neighbouring Zambia, have scrapped deputy minister positions altogether.

Last week presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari told Namibian Sun that President Geingob might appoint a new batch of deputy ministers if the workload of ministers proves to be unbearable.

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