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Jerry Lukiiko Ekandjo (born 17 March 1947[2]) is a Namibian politician and former anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner. He was one of the founding members of the SWAPO Youth League and has been one of the most active internal leading members of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) during the liberation struggle. He spend eight years in prison on Robben Island after being charged for inciting violence in 1973. Ekandjo has been a member of the Cabinet of Namibia from independence in 1990 until 2018, serving the SWAPO government in various ministerial positions. His last appointment was Minister of Youth and Sport since 2012, from which he was recalled in early 2018. Previously he was Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing from 1990 to 1995, Minister of Home Affairs from 1995 to 2005, Minister of Lands and Resettlement from 2005 to 2008, and Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development from 2008 to 2012.[3]

Jerry Ekandjo
Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture
In office
4 December 2012 – 1 February 2018
Preceded by Kazenambo Kazenambo
Succeeded by Erastus Uutoni[1]
Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development
In office
8 April 2008 – 4 December 2012
Preceded by John Pandeni
Succeeded by Charles Namoloh
Minister of Lands and Resettlement
In office
21 March 2005 – 8 April 2008
Preceded by Hifikepunye Pohamba
Succeeded by Alpheus ǃNaruseb
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
September 1995 – 21 March 2005
Succeeded by Rosalia Nghidinwa
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
In office
21 March 1995 – September 1995
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing
In office
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Loide Kasingo
Personal details
Born (1947-03-17) 17 March 1947 (age 71)
Windhoek, South-West Africa
Nationality Namibian
Political party Flag of South West Africa People's Organisation.svg SWAPO
Spouse(s) Loide Ndapewa Ekandjo
Children 3
Residence Windhoek, Namibia
Profession Politician, Teacher

In 2012 Ekandjo was a candidate for the Vice-President of SWAPO and came second to Hage Geingob who eventually became the President of Namibia in 2015. In 2017 he was nominated as a candidate for the President of SWAPO and came second again to Hage Geingob.


Political careerEdit

Ekandjo was born in Windhoek, South-West Africa. He was a member of the SWAPO Party Youth League from 1969 to 1973[2] and served as Chairman of its Windhoek Branch. In August 1973 he was arrested, and in November 1973 he was put on trial for incitement of violence. He was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison, which he spent on Robben Island in South Africa.[4] Following his release in 1981, he was a teacher from 1982 to 1987, and in 1989, he was the deputy head of SWAPO voter registration.[2] Immediately prior to independence, he was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990,[4][5] and since independence in 1990 he has served as a member of the National Assembly of Namibia. He also became Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing in 1990, serving in that position until 1995. He was Deputy Minister of Home Affairs from March 1995 until being promoted to the post of Minister of Home Affairs in September 1995.[6] After nearly ten years as Minister of Home Affairs, Ekandjo was moved to the post of Minister of Lands and Resettlement on March 21, 2005.[2]

He received the highest number of votes, 395 (tied with Nahas Angula), in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress.[7] It was reported that at the time of the November 2007 SWAPO congress, some in the party wanted Ekandjo to become the party's Vice-President, although at the congress Hage Geingob was elected to the post without opposition. Ekandjo is widely considered to be a hardliner in the party.[8] He received the highest number of votes in the election for the SWAPO Central Committee at the November 2007 congress.[9] On January 27 2008, he was elected as SWAPO's Secretary for Information and Publicity at a Central Committee meeting, a move that was considered surprising given Ekandjo's reputation for having a harsh attitude toward the media.[10]

Ekandjo was moved from his post as Minister of Lands and Resettlement to that of Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development in a Cabinet reshuffle on 8 April 2008.[11] At SWAPO's 2012 party congress, Ekandjo stood as a candidate for SWAPO Vice-President, but he was defeated by Hage Geingob in the vote held on 2 December 2012. Geingob received 312 votes from the delegates, while Ekandjo received 220 votes and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana received 64 votes.[12] In the wake of the congress, Ekandjo was moved to the post of Minister of Youth and Sport as part of a Cabinet reshuffle on 4 December 2012.[13][14]

In late August 2014, when SWAPO chose its list of parliamentary candidates for the November 2014 general election, Ekandjo only managed to obtain the 81st spot on the list, a poor performance that made it seem unlikely that he would be elected to the National Assembly.[15] Although he failed to make it into parliament in the election, he was subsequently chosen by President Hage Geingob as one of his eight presidential appointees to the National Assembly.[16] Geingob also retained Ekandjo as Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service when he named his cabinet in March 2015.[17]

For the 2017 SWAPO electoral congress Ekandjo campaigned against president Geingob, calling the leadership of government and ruling party "weak". He was dismissed from his minister position on 1 February 2018, along with fellow critic and minister Iivula-Ithana.[18]


In 2000, Ekandjo, as Home Affairs Minister, urged police to eliminate homosexuals from Namibia. This caused great controversy in Namibia, especially with Namibia's homosexual community.[19] The opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance and United Democratic Front put forward a motion of no-confidence against Ekandjo, but in the vote on October 11 2000, SWAPO MPs voted unanimously against the motion, defeating it.[20]

On 9 February 2001, Ekandjo was found guilty of contempt of court for not releasing the jailed former representative of the Angolan rebel group UNITA in Namibia, Jose Domingo Sikunda, despite a court order to do so.[21] The government said that it would appeal Ekandjo's conviction.[22]


Ekandjo, through his status as minister, has worked to reduce the prevalence of AIDS in Namibia. He has been quoted as saying "Surely one of the main lessons of these past 25 years is that when we are united we win, when we are divided, AIDS wins".[23]


  1. ^ Matthys, Donald (8 February 2018). "President reshuffles Cabinet—Vice President relieved of duties". Namibia Economist. 
  2. ^ a b c d Namibian parliament profile on Ekandjo[permanent dead link].
  3. ^ "SWAPO - Profile of Comrade Jerry Ekandjo". Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  4. ^ a b Ekandjo profile at
  5. ^ List of members of the Constituent Assembly[permanent dead link],
  6. ^ Hopwood, Graham. "Who's Who, Ekandjo, Jerry - Swapo". Guide to Namibian Politics. Namibia Institute of Democracy. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, August 27, 2002.
  8. ^ Gwen Lister, "Political Perspective" , The Namibian, December 14, 2007.
  9. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, December 3, 2007.
  10. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Surprise changes in Swapo" , The Namibian, January 29, 2008.
  11. ^ Kuvee Kangueehi, "Cabinet Shake Up", New Era, April 9, 2008.
  12. ^ Shinovene Immanuel and Selma Shipanga, "Moderates prevail" , The Namibian, 3 December 2012. Archived December 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Namibia leader taps trade minister as likely successor", Reuters, 4 December 2012.
  14. ^ Selma Shipanga and Shinovene Immanuel, "Transition team picked" , The Namibian, 5 December 2012. Archived December 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "Swapo undergoes massive transition... Complete overhaul in parliamentary ranks", New Era, 1 September 2014.
  16. ^ Mathias Haufiku, "Who are the presidential appointees?", New Era, 3 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Geingob announces Cabinet", The Namibian, 20 March 2015.
  18. ^ Iikela, Sakeus; Tjihenuna, Theresia (2 February 2018). "Iivula-Ithana denies receiving dismissal letter". The Namibian. p. 1. 
  19. ^ "Namibia gay rights row", BBC News, 2 October 2000.
  20. ^ "Namibia: Ruling party MPs defeat motion to oust interior minister", Namibia Press Agency, October 12, 2000.
  21. ^ "Namibian interior minister convicted for defying court order", Namibia Press Agency, February 9, 2001.
  22. ^ "Namibia: Government to appeal against minister's conviction in UNITA case", Namibia Press Agency, February 12, 2001.
  23. ^ Mbatjiua Ngavirue, "Namibia: United We Win, Divided Aids Wins", New Era, 4 December 2006.