Who’s our next defence minister?
08 April 2021 | Local News
The home affairs minister is deemed the most natural fit in the defence portfolio, given his military and civilian backgrounds. A military officer by training who served Swapo in Lubango, Angola, Kapofi served as secretary to Cabinet for many years, preceded by being permanent secretary in various government ministries.
The retired army general is an outsider in this contest. His name has not been cleared in the very allegations that partially led to Vilho’s fall from grace, related to payments he allegedly received from a Chinese defence contractor. However, analysts maintain he commands the respect required in the country’s armed forces.
The deputy minister of safety and security Daniel Kashikola’s name has been thrown into the hat too. But aanalysts believe he may not be considered for the position due to internal Swapo politics and his perceived alignment ahead of the party’s elective congress next year.
Vilho’s deputy Nicanor could be elevated, although she is not seen to possess the acumen required for the sensitive portfolio – especially in terms of lifting the mood of the defence force. The fact that the Cabinet handbook does not allow deputy ministers to act as full ministers also stands in her way.
The 59-year-old inspector-general of the Namibian Police has essentially reached retirement age and may now transcend into a political position. He has been chief of police since 2005 and his experience in security set-ups would be invaluable to the army, although defence is a different ball game altogether.