President Hage Geingob has failed a leadership test because of his inability to fight corruption and his mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, political analysts said on Wednesday.
Political analyst Graham Hopwood, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Mchenry Venaani and Researcher Indileni Nanghonya were part of a panel that analysed Geingob’s achievements in the past three years that he has been in power.
They were joined in the discussion, which was held at the NamPower Convention Centre, by the Presidential Economic Advisor John Steytler.
Venaani criticised Geingob for “appearing” like an anti-corruption crusader when he is in fact doing little to bring to book officials implicated in corruption cases.
“The president comes as a very anti-corruption campaigner or someone who detests it, but he has so far done nothing concrete to put an end to it. The N$200 million which has gone missing through the SME Bank - he came out and said the directors involved had done nothing wrong and so nothing was done about it.
“He is not fighting corruption at all. Have a look at all major government tenders, they are being given to foreigners, and through that we are losing a number of our resources to other countries. The foreigners do the job and send the money to their shores. We can give these jobs to our own people,” Venaani said.
He questioned why 4,2 percent of the national budget goes to the Ministry of Defence while the majority of people are wallowing in abject poverty.
“We spend 4,2 percent of our national budget on the defence ministry while over 500,000 people live in shanty towns. The agriculture ministry, which is the one that creates more jobs, received the lowest chunk of the budget. How does one explain that? That is not prosperity, and we certainly cannot continue like that.
“This country has the highest housing prices in Africa, if not the world. Banks are just profiteering and nothing is being done about it. For as long as government doesn’t listen to the people, then we are going nowhere,” Venaani said.
The opposition leader, however, commended Geingob for declaring his assets publicly, his efforts in requesting all Cabinet ministers to follow suit and the establishment of performance agreements for ministers.
Hopwood said Namibia needs to do better in terms of implementing policies.
He said that government needs to be honest about its failures and put up proper discussions on what can be done to bring solutions to those shortcomings.
“Government in general is very slow in terms of implementations. We need to get our priorities right, we need a workable and proper asset declaration by MPs, we need a broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission that is made up of civil servants and some community people as well,” Hopwood said.
Steytler defended his boss’ administration, but did not give articulated responses to most of the questions from the audience who seemed to criticise the president.
The economist said he was pleased with how government handled the economic downgrade and slowdown, and the increase in debt, which has started slowing down, saying it is something good to talk about.
“Obviously we need to do more to develop entrepreneurs through other stakeholders, it shouldn’t just be up to the State. We need to stimulate our agricultural sector.
“But it is also important that we become factual and evidence-based people. Sometimes we just say plans are failing or they are not working out, but they are either halfway there or soon to be completed,” Steytler said.
Nanghonya criticised government for having too many plans at hand.
“Too many plans are not what we need, but more implementation needs to be done. Competition in the private sector should be encouraged,” she said.
Geingob became Namibia’s third president on March 21, 2015.