July 9, 2019: Namibian Education Minister resignes after being convicted of corruption

Namibia’s Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, in a letter sent to the media on 9 July, said she has requested to be relieved of her duties as Minister with immediate effect.

This comes a day after High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg convicted her on a charge of corruptly using her former position as Governor of Hardap Region to make changes to a list of people selected to receive houses built in Mariental under the mass housing development programme in 2014.

The changes involved the removal of the names of two people from the list, and the addition of two other names – the one a sister-in-law of Hanse-Himarwa, while the other was also a relative of hers – on the list.

Judge Liebenberg found that Hanse-Himarwa told “a blatant lie” when she denied having been present at the meeting where she was alleged to have given the instructions to have the list of housing beneficiaries changed, and concluded that the evidence she gave during the trial on that issue had been false beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to reports, Hanse-Himarwa’s resignation came as President Hage Geingob indicated that he would relieve her from her duties. “With the guilty verdict by the High Court of the Republic of Namibia, and in line with the expressed commitment by President Geingob to transparency and the fight against corruption, the Head of State would have been left with no option but to relieve Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa of her ministerial responsibilities,” said Alfredo Hengari, spokesperson of the President.

It is still unclear wether the former minister will retain her seat in Parliament. Furthermore, her sentence still has to be announced by the court which will be done after July 24. Depending on the verdict, Hanse-Himarwa’s political carriere could be severely demaged.