Katrina is in pain – Shaningwa

Swapo has refused to take a stand on the disgraced former education minister's future despite political analysts insisting that it needs to do so.

11 July 2019 | Politics

Swapo will not entertain any questions relating to the political future of former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, the party's secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa said yesterday.

Hanse-Himarwa quit President Hage Geingob's cabinet on Tuesday, a day after she was found guilty of corruption by the Windhoek High Court.

The former Hardap governor was found guilty by High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday. She will be sentenced on 24 July.

“Listen here, I really want to tell you that at this time honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa is going through too many things. And it is also painful, wherever she is. I do not want to discuss with anyone of you about those issues of honourable Katrina. I do not enjoy the downfall of anybody, it is not my culture. Do not ask me and do not call me anymore,” Shaningwa said yesterday.

This is despite political analysts saying the party must take a stand, in line with the principles of accountability and transparency.

Political analyst Henning Melber said he thinks Hanse-Himarwa was well-advised to resign before being unceremoniously dismissed.

According to him - given Monday's verdict - State House hardly had any other option, especially a few months ahead of the 2019 general election.

“The move has for the time being brought a temporary interim solution and took the pressure from President Geingob and the party. It is now of interest to wait for the final judgment (if Hanse-Himarwa appeals) and the justification for the verdict. Then it must be discussed if a convicted office-bearer, who abused her position in (regional) government, is still an acceptable member of the party's central committee and can be tolerated as a MP,” he said.

Melber added it will also be interesting to see if these latest developments will affect support for Hanse-Himarwa at the upcoming Swapo electoral college.

“It would be a much welcome new trend if such conduct would face the consequences it deserves; seeing is believing. After all, she was a reliable and loyal supporter of Team Hage and might be rewarded for this in some other way. The public will certainly watch and follow her further career, if there is one.”

Local analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said he would hope the party has guidelines for a time such as this.

“It is difficult, but the ruling party must take a stand, in line with what the president did,” he said.

He added that Hanse-Himarwa's decision to step down sets a good precedent, adding that she must be commended for the decision.

“We hope other politicians who are shrouded in controversy and other issues will follow soon,” he said.

Political commentator Frederico Links agrees that the party must certainly make a statement, given that it is an election year.

“This is a serious socio-economic issue and people are talking about it. If you look at the governance weaknesses across the state sector, and you have some people in some local authorities protesting against corruption at local authority level, and specifically pointing to ruling party and local authority councillors, then yes, the party must take a stand,” he said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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