|Advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs|
12 July 1943 |
South West Africa
Ngarikutuke Ernest Tjiriange (born July 12, 1943) is a Namibian politician, a member of the National Assembly and former Secretary General of the ruling SWAPO Party. He is the Minister of Veterans' Affairs in the Namibian cabinet.
Tjiriange, born in Windhoek, studied law at Leningrad State University and received a doctorate from Kiev University in 1973. After doing research at the International Institute for Labour Studies in Switzerland in 1974 and the International Institute of Human Rights in France in 1975, he was an assistant professor at the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia from 1977 to 1982. He became the principal legal advisor of SWAPO in 1970.
Ngarikutuke Tjiriange was a notable no-show in the High Court in Windhoek in 2009 as the trial of his son on charges that include counts of murder and robbery entered its final phase. Tjiriange’s son, Elias Nhinda-Tjiriange, was convicted of murdering a cousin of his, robbing him, and later burning his body in Windhoek near the end of 2004.
Tjiriange was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, immediately prior to independence. At independence in 1990, he became a member of the National Assembly.
He became Minister of Justice in 1990, serving in that post for thirteen years; he was additionally Attorney-General from March 2000 to January 2001. He was nominated as Secretary-General of SWAPO by President Sam Nujoma at the party's August 2002 congress, and he was elected to that post. It was decided at the congress to make the position of Secretary-General a full-time job, but Tjiriange remained Justice Minister until May 8, 2003, at which point he was instead appointed as Minister without Portfolio. In the November 2004 parliamentary election, he was first on SWAPO's candidate list. He resigned from the National Assembly, as well as from his post as Minister without Portfolio, in February 2005 in order to receive payment of a pension; however, he was reappointed as Minister without Portfolio by the newly sworn in President Hifikepunye Pohamba on March 21, 2005. The opposition Congress of Democrats was critical of the decision to keep Tjiriange in the Cabinet without a ministerial portfolio, arguing that he would effectively receive a salary out of taxpayer money for doing party work as SWAPO Secretary-General. On October 4, 2006, he was appointed by Pohamba as Minister of Veterans' Affairs upon the creation of that ministry.
At SWAPO's November 2007 congress, Tjiriange failed to be re-elected to the party's Politburo. On January 27, 2008, he was elected as SWAPO's Secretary for Environment at a meeting of the Central Committee.
Ngarikutuke Tjiriange announced in September 2009 that he would withdraw from active politics to devote more time to farming, but remained a member of the central committee and the secretariat of the Swapo Party. In his farewell speech on the 16th of March 2010 for the National assembly, Ngarikute urged his successors to deal with the land question, in particular the access to gravesites of ancestors.
After his resignation, Tjiriange presented himself as a prominent advocate against legislation for equal rights of homosexuals in Africa. His prominent presence in the media has earned him a re-entry into politics as of April 2012 when he was appointed special adviser to Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Rosalia Nghidinwa to bring about all-round improvement at the Ministry.
- Christof Maletsky, "Kuugongelwa new Finance Minister", The Namibian, May 9, 2003.
- "MPs quit 'for the money'", The Namibian, February 18, 2005.
- Christof Maletsky, "New ministries and new faces", The Namibian, March 22, 2005.
- "Pohamba fails to impress the CoD", The Namibian, April 22, 2005.
- Brigitte Weidlich, "War vets get own Ministry", The Namibian, October 5, 2006.
- Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, December 3, 2007.
- Christof Maletsky, "Surprise changes in Swapo" Archived 2007-08-15 at Archive.is, The Namibian, January 29, 2008.
- "This issue of gay rights", New Era, February 8, 2012.