Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana

Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (born October 11, 1952)[2] is a Namibian politician who served as the Secretary-General of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) from 2007 to 2012. She was also Minister of Justice from 2005 to 2012 and Minister of Home Affairs from 2012 until 2018 when president Hage Geingob relieved her off her duties in a cabinet reshuffle.[3]

Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana

Minister of Home Affairs
In office
4 December 2012 – 1 February 2018
Preceded byRosalia Nghidinwa
Succeeded byFrans Kapofi[1]
Secretary General of SWAPO
In office
December 2007 – 4 December 2012
Preceded byNgarikutuke Tjiriange
Succeeded byNangolo Mbumba
Minister of Justice
In office
2005 – 4 December 2012
Preceded byAlbert Kawana
Succeeded byUtoni Nujoma
Personal details
Born (1952-10-11) 11 October 1952 (age 67)
Uukwandongo, Omusati Region, Namibia
Political partyFlag of South West Africa People's Organisation.svg SWAPO
Alma materUniversity of Namibia

Early life, education and exileEdit

Iivula-Ithana was born in Uukwandongo, Ongandjera, Ovamboland.[2][4] In 1974 she went into exile and became one of the first woman fighters in the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).[5] She was active in the SWAPO Youth League and the SWAPO Women's Council whose Secretary she became in 1980.[4][6]

Iivula-Ithana holds Bachelor of Laws and B.Juris degrees from University of Namibia (1999 and 1998), and a Diploma in Public Administration and Management from the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Zambia (1979).[5] Ithana also holds an MBA from Namibia International University of Management.

Political careerEdit

Immediately prior to Namibian independence she was a SWAPO delegate to the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990,[7] and upon independence in March 1990 she became a member of the National Assembly of Namibia.[2][4]

Iivula-Ithana served in several Cabinet positions. She was Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism from 1990 to 1991, Minister of Youth and Sport from 1991 to 1996, and Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation from 1996 to 2001. She was moved from the latter position to that of Attorney-General on January 26, 2001.[8] In March 2005, when President Hifikepunye Pohamba took office, she was appointed to the additional post of Minister of Justice.[2][9]

At SWAPO's August 2002 congress, Iivula-Ithana placed 23rd in the election for the Central Committee, receiving 310 votes.[10] She was elected as Secretary-General of SWAPO at the party's November 2007 congress, becoming the first woman to hold that position.[11]

Iivula-Ithana was one possible contender for SWAPO's presidential candidacy, a position determined at the end-2012 party congress.[5] She lost to Hage Geingob and runner-up Jerry Ekandjo, coming third by a margin. This fifth SWAPO Congress was followed by a Cabinet reshuffle on 4 December 2012, in which she became Minister of Home Affairs.[12]

In late August 2014, when SWAPO chose its list of parliamentary candidates for the November 2014 general election, Iivula-Ithana only managed to obtain the 86th spot on the list, a poor performance that made it seem unlikely that she would be elected to the National Assembly.[13] Although she failed to make it into parliament in the election, she was subsequently chosen by President Hage Geingob as one of his eight presidential appointees to the National Assembly.[14] When Geingob took office in March 2015, Iivula-Ithana was retained in her post as Minister of Home Affairs.[15]

For the 2017 SWAPO electoral congress Iivula-Ithana campaigned against president Geingob, calling the leadership of government and ruling party "weak". She was dismissed from her minister position on 1 February 2018, along with fellow critic and minister Jerry Ekandjo.[16]


When Iivula-Ithana became Secretary-General of SWAPO it was also decided that this post would become a full-time salaried position.[17] It was consequently expected that she would leave her posts of Justice Minister and Attorney-General at the time of the next cabinet reshuffle.[18] However, she remained in all three posts. It was reported that there were internal disagreements in the SWAPO Party regarding the issue of Iivula-Ithana's multiple jobs, with President Pohamba wanting to remove Iivula-Ithana from her Cabinet posts while former President Sam Nujoma's supporters wanted her to retain all posts and opposed implementing the resolution.[19]

During her term as Justice Minister Iivula-Ithana clashed with the Namibian Magistrates Commission over the dismissal of a magistrate. The Magistrates Commission successfully sued her, the case is currently appealed by her in the Supreme Court of Namibia.[5]


  1. ^ Matthys, Donald (8 February 2018). "President reshuffles Cabinet—Vice President relieved of duties". Namibia Economist.
  2. ^ a b c d Namibia Institute for Democracy profile Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^$730m-deal | Iivula-Iithana blasts Swapo's N$730m deal - The Namibian
  4. ^ a b c Profile at Namibian Parliament website[permanent dead link].
  5. ^ a b c d Mongudhi, Tileni (April 2012). "Last Woman Standing". Insight Namibia. pp. 22–23.
  6. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Biographies of Namibian Personalities, I". Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  7. ^ List of members of the Constituent Assembly, Archived 2008-08-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Namibia: President appoints ruling party secretary-general new land minister", Nampa, January 26, 2001.
  9. ^ Lindsay Dentlinger, "Justice Minister Iivula-Ithana cracks the whip" Archived 2005-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, April 13, 2005.
  10. ^ "The ruling party's new Central Committee" Archived January 4, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, August 27, 2002.
  11. ^ "Namibia: Pohamba for 2009 polls" Archived 2007-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, Sapa, December 4, 2007.
  12. ^ Shipanga, Selma; Immanuel, Shinovene (5 December 2012). "Transition team picked". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 2012-12-06.
  13. ^ "Swapo undergoes massive transition... Complete overhaul in parliamentary ranks", New Era, 1 September 2014.
  14. ^ Mathias Haufiku, "Who are the presidential appointees?", New Era, 3 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Geingob announces Cabinet" Archived 2015-10-02 at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, 20 March 2015.
  16. ^ Iikela, Sakeus; Tjihenuna, Theresia (2 February 2018). "Iivula-Ithana denies receiving dismissal letter". The Namibian. p. 1.
  17. ^ Brigitte Weidlich, "A title for Nujoma, brickbats for media"[permanent dead link], The Namibian, December 3, 2007.
  18. ^ Gwen Lister, "Political Perspective"[permanent dead link], The Namibian, January 11, 2008.
  19. ^ Brigitte Weidlich and Christof Maletsky, "Standoff in Swapo"[permanent dead link], The Namibian, August 4, 2008.