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Haufiku bares his soul

President Hage Geingob has said that health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula recommended that former health minister and Covid-19 task force leader, Dr Bernard Haufiku be withdrawn from the ministry because he caused discord among team members.
Dr Haufiku has also been accused of disclosing information discussed during strategic meetings with the media without prior clearance.
Geingob said, “The conduct of Dr Haufiku was viewed as a distraction from the core responsibility of managing the pandemic successfully”.
“In that vein, the Head of State applied his mind and terminated on 30 July 2020 the appointment of Dr Bernard Haufiku as Special Advisor by virtue of the powers vested in the President by Article 32 (6) of the constitution of the Republic of Namibia,” said the presidency in a statement.
Dr Haufiku was resigned to the position of Special Advisor on Health and Social Services Matters in the Office of the Vice President.
As a special advisor, his role was to provide strategic advice to the minister, deputy minister and executive director of the health ministry.
The statement from statehouse says that he was supposed “to work harmoniously with the executive team of the ministry under the leadership of Dr Shangula.
Meanwhile, Haufiku has told Eagle FM that it was clear that in the fight against the pandemic, each time he met Dr Shangula “it was clear that there was no chemistry”.
Haufiku has been lauded for being honest and transparent about the impact of the virus while rumours surfaced a few months ago that he was being muzzled from speaking out.
He has lately slammed bureaucracy in the fight against the virus saying he would not wait for paperwork, predicting a potential crisis at a time when Namibia limped with a few cases.
“I am one person who thinks the public needs to be informed as early as possible and as professionally as possible. I am being accused of leaking information to the media and I strongly deny that.
A matter was discussed sending a high-level delegation to Walvis Bay and the next morning I told the media that this was discussed. Truth is I recommended to Deputy Minister Ester Muinjangue, and the minister that between them, one needed to go to Walvis Bay and Dr Shangula said we are having a responsibility here and I don’t want any of my team to go and come back and be quarantined.
My response was I offered to go to Walvis Bay to offer support because the issue at Walvis Bay was a lack of coordination to the extent that community members were left out. Dr Shangula said he would consider my offer three weeks ago. Someone from the media picked up this communication and in about five days I received a call from one of the journalists asking if I had offered to go to Walvis Bay,” he said.
Dr Haufiku says he leaves the government with a clean conscience.
“I have never taken a kickback, that gives me a clear conscience because higher-level cabinet ministers are being accused of stealing money. I am not part of that. I am proud I have not done that due to my own principles,” he said.
He also admitted that he was stopped to speak at the Covid-19 communication centre.
“That was 15 minutes before I was going to speak about Covid-19, a technical clarification I needed to give. I was asked if I had been granted permission to speak. Dr Shangula said you know the issue between you and the President. The president does not want you to speak.
I said I do not want to step on the toes of this President so I stopped going to the media centre but I have been attending all meetings at the office of the minister and I have been pushing for preparedness. Those who attended meetings know,” he said.
I will challenge leadership
Dr Haufiku said he has no intention to go back to politics.
“I would rather do something technical. They are using some of my advice including sending a high-level team to Walvis Bay. I just received a termination letter. But I think life still has options for me. I appreciate now more than ever the need for leadership roles in Namibia and I may have to challenge leadership in the future. I am not talking about forming a new political party
I have no issue with Dr Shangula or Dr Geingob as a person and I met him twice this year and he asked whether I was still alive. I told him I am still young and around. Dr Shangula me last week and sometimes we talk like we are at war. We don’t sweet talk. We talk tough. How he took it I don’t know. I think if this letter was not written I would not be in this situation. It is up to him to think he has done what is right. President Geingob in his last term knows exactly what he wants to leave a legacy. I think his conscience speaks to him. All I did was receive this letter of termination,” he said.

Wonder Guchu

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