SONA uninspiring - opposition

13 April 2017 Author   Sonja Smith and Kaula Nhongo

President Hage Geingob has been blasted by opposition groups, who accused him of delivering an uninspiring 67-page State of the Nation Address (SONA) in the National Assembly on Wednesday. SWANU President, Usutuaije Maamberua, criticised Geingob for failing to deliver the real SONA. He said the president had instead delivered a review of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).

“The president was explaining the Harambee plans again, everything that is in his speech is the ideas he pointed out last year when the HHP was launched, and other many issues that he said during his other many speeches, there was nothing new.

“The speech failed to inspire. My expectation was for him to touch on more important issues that are topical and that are of concern to the public, such as implementation of goals toward the year 2030, the issue of genocide. He is the president, he is supposed to tell us,” Maamberua said.

The opposition leader added that Geingob dodged the topic of land expropriation that he introduced at the Independence celebration in Rundu and the issue of Chinese in Namibia.

“On the land expropriation, he completely ignored it and said nothing on it. He introduced the matter of taking back land from the absent foreign owners. We want to know what steps his Government are taking; there seems to be no initiative yet.

“While on ancestral land he again failed to answer my question, when I asked him to give us his position on the matter, but goes ahead to talk about Windhoek and Swakopmund land. Who wants to own land in Windhoek or Swakopmund? We want the land that was taken away from the Ovahereros and Namas, places like Erindi and many others,”Maamberua explained.

OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro told the Windhoek Observer that although he had no expectation from the SONA, he was disappointed by the manner in which President Geingob had handled question time.

“I did not have any expectation, but I am fairly disappointed in the way he handled the questions. On the genocide issue, it should be resolved on the basis of the trilateral approach, involving the descendants of the people who were the victims of the genocide that were perpetrated by the Germans between 1904-1908, and that is the Namibian Government and the German Government.

“What the president is insisting on, having Dr Zed Ngavirue as the leader of the Genocide delegation cannot be accepted. He can have him on the Government side, but he cannot lead the delegation of the descendants. We are not happy with how he (Ngavirue) has been handling the matter in the past one and a half years,”Rukoro said.

His comments come after the official opposition party leader, McHenry Venaani, had likened the SONA to “the biggest circus in the region”, where the president is allowed to evade questions while making a mockery of issues that are fundamental to the country.

Speaking at a press conference, a clearly distraught and angry Venaani said that President Hage Geingob just comes and makes a mockery of people’s questions and then he goes without really responding to questions.

“There are rules that govern the SONA so the president comes here, you ask him questions and he decides to make a political fun out of it. He doesn’t answer the question and nothing happens. You are not even allowed to have a reply question.

“We will not tolerate such behaviour of people making a mockery of issues that are fundamental to this country, so we are urging a SONA that reflects the values of accountability which is not reflected currently,” he said.

“In other countries there is a debate where people talk about their state of the nation,” he said.

He accused the Speaker of Parliament, Peter Katjavivi, of shielding the president from responding to pertinent questions while making his own rules that favour the ruling party.

“What is happening is that the speaker arbitrarily decides on the rules. If he decides the questions are sensitive then Venaani must ask three questions.”

 

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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