Print this page

Our lame duck president

12 December 2014

IT has been interesting reading all the stories about the outgoing president on his whirlwind tour of the country as he says goodbye to the regions before he officially retires in March next year.

On more than one occasion, the media has reported that the outgoing president is not happy with the quality of the houses they have built under the ambitious and controversial mass housing project.

He also expressed his disappointment at the Okahandja city fathers for the filthy state that the inappropriately named ‘Garden Town’ finds itself in.

While one would like to sympathise with the outgoing president, who is so eager to leave a lasting legacy, whatever that is, one cannot help but feel that his anger is inconsequential and a little too late.

This is a president who has been at the helm of the highest office in the land for ten years, and for him to start criss-crossing the country dishing out his wrath left, right and centre at this moment in time when he is in the sunset of his presidency, sounds like a desperate cry for attention.

The outgoing president should have started earlier with his mass housing project. It’s not as if he woke up one day and suddenly realised the country has a housing crisis on its hands.

Informal settlements have been mushrooming everywhere under his watch, but Government did nothing until the last minute.

He wants everyone to know that the mass housing project is a Pohamba project, and it does represent one of the nobler policies of his presidency.

However, leaving it until so late in his presidency created a situation where the rush job all round inevitably means there would be substandard work and corruption.

People will unfortunately remember the mass housing project, a noble intention by all means, not for the good intentions of the president but for the instant millionaires that it created, and the shoddy work and favouritism.

Again, no one will take the outgoing president seriously when he starts screaming about lazy and incompetent officials when under his watch during the last ten years, a number of incompetent ministers kept their jobs. To some degree, incompetence has been the hallmark of his presidency.

Perhaps we should have changed the part of the constitution that allows the outgoing president to remain as head of state for almost five months after voters have elected a new president.

We don’t think such a clause in the constitution is in the best interests of the country as real power would have shifted to the incoming president and no-one would have taken the incumbent seriously, hence the term lame duck president.

The president cannot right the wrongs of his ten-year reign in just less than five months.  This also applies to the outgoing ministers who still have to plan and motivate their ministry’s budgets when some of them know that they won’t be in office come next year.

It is time for Pohamba to fade away


Latest from Windhoek Observer