Don’t expect too many changes from Mbumba – analysts

Nangolo Mbumba

Political analysts say Namibians should not expect too many changes from president Nangolo Mbumba’s administration, given the period of time he has as president.

They say Mbumba is a caretaker president until the swearing in of the next president, and will ensure continuity regarding the policies left by president Hage Geingob.

In an interview with Desert Radio yesterday, political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said the president will only implement programmes that are already in place.

“We have to take his word that he is the caretaker president until the swearing in of the next president. We shouldn’t expect much in terms of policy changes and direction.

“What we are going to see him do is probably stress the importance of implementing policies and programmes that are already in place – the NDP5, the Harambee Prosperity Plan, and green hydrogen. We will see him maybe adding his ministers to work hard to ensure it is implemented, but we should not expect much,” he said.

Kamwanyah said much of what will happen in terms of Mbumba’s governance can only be decided after the budget is tabled.

“From what that budget allocation looks like, we could draw conclusions about what he is going to focus on, including corruption.

“I have doubt because of the time frame left from now up to the elections that he will be successful in tackling corruption, partly because of the time frame,” he said.

Political scientist Henning Melber said Mbumba has taken over a vehicle with “the same old engine and the same old wheels”.

“We should be careful, while we offer him the integrity and trust he deserves, to expect too much of him. It is not individuals on the commanding heights, it is the board that matters, meaning he has to rely on strong institutions and committed civil servants who follow the principles that were issued as a programme for good governance.

“Mbumba has not bridged that gap yet,” he said.

“I think the best we can expect is continuity and administration for the one year and one month, delivering the arts of division of the late president Hage Geingob. Mbumba has always been a very loyal servant.

“He was in the finance ministry for seven years, from 1996 to 2003, and as far as I can remember, he did not rock the boat then, so I’m very sure his top priority will be not to rock the boat now,” Melber said.

He described Mbumba as having a good record.

“I have not come across any incidents where there could have been suspicion of Mbumba concerning his integrity and his proper performance in office.

“Mbumba’s personality is that he is a gentleman, meaning he is a very soft-speaking person. That is in contrast to Geingob, also in contrast to the founding president, Sam Nujoma.

“He has the personality of former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, which does not mean he does not have the power to influence people to follow instructions.

“Mbumba has made some statements on what he expects members of the Cabinet to do. It is too early to judge whether it has had an impact, but it is notable that he has made some changes so early,” Melber said.

Analyst Jacob Nyambe described Mbumba as a capable president.

“Mbumba is capable and firm. The expectation is that he is going to maintain what was left and just sit for that delivery to take place.

“I don’t think with the little time that is left, including the time to campaign in the country, there will be major projects. I think it is a matter of implementing what is there.”

Mbumba was sworn in as Namibia’s fourth president hours after the announcement of Geingob’s death on 4 February.

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