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Saturday 19 January 2019
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President must attend all national events, analysts say

The President should attend all national day commemorations unless extreme cases prevent that, analysts have said.
President Hage Geingob has drawn huge criticism in recent months because of his decision not to attend some national events, and this has left some quarters of the populace with the impression that some national days are more important than others.
This year, the President was nowhere to be seen on Constitution Day (9 February), the same can be said about Cassinga Day which took place on May 4. President Geingob’s no-show at the Commemoration of Cassinga Day which took place at Heroes Acre in the capital came a few days after he graced Workers Day (May Day) in Oshakati four days earlier.
Although he is not always an absent-figure at national commemorations, over the years it has been an unwritten rule for the President to attend all national events.
Political analyst Hoze Riruako said the President, being the head of government, was “obliged” to attend all national commemoration events on the calendar.
Riruako said: “The President is the head of state and commander in chief of the Namibian Defence Force so yes, he has to attend all national events. All our national days have some historical connection to them, these are days on which our people lost their lives for us to enjoy the fruits of independence as we do today.
Not only is it the President obliged to attend these events, but it is every Namibian’s duty to attend and pay homage and respect to those who lost their lives in the liberation struggle. Him attending [The President] will encourage more people to attend and see value in these days. So we should see it as the duty of all Namibians and not just the President’s” he remarked.
Additionally, there has been complaints among Namibians, particularly those who never went into exile who believe that their efforts in Namibia’s quest for independence are undervalued in post-independent Namibia as more emphasis and praise oftentimes goes to those that where in exile.
To this Riruako said: “Everyone’s contribution should be valued, whether they were in the country or waged their fight from beyond the Namibian borders.”
In addition, recent times has seen calls for an official day to be set aside of the Namibian calendar to commemorate the Nama and Ovaherero 1904-1908 genocide where the two communities were massacred by German imperial forces.
When asked what he thought about the proposals to set a day aside to commemorate the aforesaid genocide, Riruako said it was a “right” by those demanding such a day.
“It is the right call. The time has arrived for us to give every notable battle its due recognition. The Nama and Ovaherero 1904 battle is due for recognition because by leaving it out [not recognising it], you are leaving out a very important page of our history,” Riruako noted further.
Seemingly agreeing with Riruako was another analyst in the form of Andrew Niikondo who also said the President was obliged to attend all commemorations of national importance.
Niikondo was however quick to point out that there are some occasions when the President is unable to attend national commemoration days especially when these events fall in the same dates as other events of equal importance that the President has to attend.
“The President is supposed to attend all national events provided that there is nothing else that is urgent on his schedule. So he [President] has to prioritise.
“The President is there for the nation. And National events are also part of it [the President’s duties] but there are also other responsibilities that the President may say ‘ok this is a national event but there is also another national duty that the President has to attend in that particular week or day’,” explained Niikondo.
In a an event that the President is unable to attend a particular national event due to other national commitments, the President “delegates” the tasks to those below him Niikondo said.
In addition, the veteran analyst however highlighted that there were some national events that the President cannot miss.
“There are some [national days] like Independence Day. It is not likely for the President to omit that one. But still if it collides with something big in the schedule of the President, then the President can say it takes place earlier or later.
But on Independence Day, the President should be there,”
President Hage Geingob also came under scrutiny at the beginning of the year for attending the Centenary Commemoration of Ovakwanyama King Mandume Ya Ndemufayo despite having “snubbed” the Damara cultural festival last year.




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