Ministry matters

The cold war of the Ministry of Sports worries PDM

People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Johannes Martin says the alleged ‘blood villain’ between Minister for Sports, Youth and National Service Agnès Tjongarero and her deputy Emma Kantema-Gaomas is contributing to the feuds incessant in the sports fraternity.

Martin made the startling claim in his submission to parliament this week pointing to Katema-Gaomas’ recent “fact-finding mission” to Cameroon, questioning the funding and authenticity of the trip.

Today, Martin will ask Tjongarero to clear up the confusion surrounding the West Africa excursion.

In particular, he wants to know “from which credit of the ministry’s budget was paid for the trip”.

He also asked if the trip had been undertaken with the approval of the ministry.

More specifically, he wants Tjongarero to affirm that there is no disagreement between her and her deputy “which seriously affects the mandate entrusted to them at the ministry”.

Office of Sport, Youth and National Service Executive Director Audrin Mathe gave mixed answers on the trip when answering questions from The Namibian last week, leading Martin to point out the inconsistencies and secrecy surrounding shipping.

Initially, the ministry said it had not sent any of its employees to Cameroon, “and had no plans to do so in the future”.

Mathe then said the deputy minister traveled to the West African nation on a “sports development and cooperation mission” at the invitation of the Confederation of African Football.

Kantema-Gaomas held “preliminary discussions on Namibia’s intended bid to co-host the continental tournament in 2027 with the Republic of Botswana” with several prominent football personalities, Mathe said.

“This response from the ministry is very concerning. When one interprets this response at face value, it becomes very clear that there are fundamental problems within the Department of Sports, Youth and National Service, and these contradictions directly contribute to the fracas we have been witnesses in our athletic fraternity,” Martin said.

“This response also supports the narrative that has been doing the rounds that there are ongoing power struggles and a breakdown in communication between the minister and the deputy minister of the department, which should be of fundamental concern to all of us. “

Kantema-Gaomas’ personal assistant (PA), Ricardo Goagoseb, and Namibia Sports Commission chief administrator, Freddy Mwiya, were part of the delegation, Mathe said.

CAF paid for the deputy minister’s accommodation, he said.

However, it is unclear who covered Mwiya’s expenses and the travel expenses of the Deputy Minister and her PA.

The exercise, which, although involving football matters, excluded the Namibian Football Association, reportedly cost the government around N$500,000.

While the government of Botswana backed the joint bid, The Namibian Sport has good faith that the Cabinet did not instruct the ministry to act on the proposal.

The expedition to consult with the latest hosts and lobby support has been kept under wraps as the situation demands keeping one’s cards close to one’s chest, Mwiya said.

“We haven’t said anything about the trip because sometimes it’s best not to go public with your plans when you’re working on a project of this magnitude,” he said.

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia have also shown interest in hosting the 36th edition of the continental showpiece.