None should claim credit for home affairs turnaround - Nghidinwa

Former home affairs minister Rosalia Nghidinwa has said credit for the turnaround of the home affairs ministry cannot go to one minister alone but should be due to all ministers. 

Nghidinwa, who succeeded Jerry Ekandjo in 2007, made the cautioning remarks after the current minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has been praising herself for solely fixing “the mess” at home affairs as part of her campaign for she seeks to gunner support at congress for the position of Swapo party vice president.

“Maybe that’s the way she feels. But I am saying that all ministers who have been at home affairs helped to change the ministry, with their teams, the permanent secretaries, the directors and so on.  It’s not one person, it’s a team,” she said.

The soft-spoken former minister said there was no bad blood between her and Iivula-Ithana but “she can say what she wants.”

“I do not want to say that it is not true, maybe that’s the way she is speaking, and anyone can say what they want to say. I believe the plans that we left in the office, she implemented. 

"Like the head office in Windhoek, the one they are busy building, the office at Oshakati, the Kasamane Border Post and many others,” she said.

Nghidinwa said she even advised the current minister on how to take the ministry forward at the time she left office, decisions whose implementation have now turned out to be a success.

“When I left the office, I even wrote a report to her before the official hand-over. I presented it to her in the office. Explained the setbacks and the achievements, the challenges faced by the ministry and what I thought she should do to improve those challenges. We have a good relationship. I don’t have a problem. It is my nature,” she said.  

Nghidinwa took pains to highlight the many successes her office brought to the ministry, seemingly to discredit Iivula-Ithana’s claims that the ministry was not in order when she left.

“The first minister started from scratch. The office was under the ministry of justice, and he amended some of the laws. 

"The second minister also came in, continued with the first minister’s plan and then Rosalia came as the third minister when the ministry was divided in two. Even the first minister realised that the ministry was so difficult to carry,” she said.

Nghidinwa claims she successfully repatriated Namibians from South Africa and refuted claims that she was responsible for the infamous long queues which Iivula-Ithana’s ministry has successfully resolved.

“I came to realise that the complaints of the long queues were because people were waiting for outcomes from South Africa because when a person used to apply, they sent some questionnaires to South Africa to get information from the Namibian files because many of them were in South Africa. And it was the first time those files were coming in 2008 with president Mbeki and the minister of home affairs that time,” she added. 

She said it was her office that started with the concept of automation, one that has been successfully realised by the current office. 

“It was difficult to find the information on time. Automation for birth certificates, automation for IDs and fingerprints and integrating them thereof. I thought it was better to register babies in hospitals which I thought by 2017 it will reduce the long queues. And I believe it did because most of the babies are registered in hospitals,” she said.

Nghidinwa added, “During our term, we even decentralised offices to the constituencies. We started with //Karas, and we opted to decentralise three offices per region. That’s why I say all four ministers played a vital role to bring this ministry where it is.”