By Staff Reporter
The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) has taken a shot at President Hage Geingob’s journeys across the regions, where he is conducting town-hall meetings, as an unnecessary expense.
Speaking to the media at a press conference hosted this week, LPM’s Henny Seibeb said Geingob was embarking on a Swapo campaign under the guise of such meetings and called him out to release figures of how much has been spent so far.
“We all know that President Hage Geingob informed the public that he is going to have what we call town hall meetings. Now, the meetings are welcome in a democracy. Any President ought to do that, we don’t have a problem with that.
When he was elected and sworn in, he conducted town hall meetings in Namibia already. So now our interest will be, during those town hall meetings numerous recommendations were made; now what happened to all those reports and recommendations that he has gathered?
What were the key issues that the President picked up in 2015? How much was budgeted for such an exercise?
I know as a Head of State he travels around with the Namibian Defense Force, the Namibian Police, supporting staff like Dr. John Steytler and he was the one that, as always, was giving outcomes of such engagements,” said Seibeb.
He also claimed that Geingob had lost trust with secretary general Sophia Shaningwa.
“He has lost trust completely and (Nangolo) Mbumba who is now the acting secretary general can’t do anything much. So he has to use state resources and that is where our worry is. If he was doing these meetings as a Swapo President, no problem.
But the mere fact that he is doing it as the President of Namibia, using so called town hall meetings as disguise to campaign, and such campaigns have failed elsewhere. For example when there is crisis of governance it always leads to state collapse,” he said.
He also asked to know the number of government employees working on this undertaking.
Seibeb said the expensive investments conference that Namibia has hosted should have brought, at least in the past two years, investments of N$10 billion.
He said that this is the reason why the President had to “beg a Mexican investor at Statehouse” despite affirming that “no business people would be allowed to discuss business plans and deals at statehouse”.
He thus slammed the President for being contradictory.
“There has been what we call the Namibia Investment Conference. I think one newspaper put it that it was over N$10 million and then the President promised that indeed Namibia would be prosperous. Investors would come and invest. That was in 2015 and the President went to stay for 23 days in the United States of America.
Out of that exercise we are not told how much money was spent and upon his arrival how many investors were lured to Namibia because it was not only the President that went to stay there in the U.S. What we call the investment promoters were also in the U.S and they even went to other parts of the world.
So far we have not got a single investment. Now compare that to what President (Cyril) Ramaphosa did in South Africa. After he stepped in, he appointed an economic panel and within a three-month space, these people were already talking about N$10 billion to N$30 billion that they were able to get,” he said.
He also said that his party warned the presidency against holding a “big and expensive land conference for now” but rather set a commission to study international cases on the issue.
“So the new town hall meetings, the previous ones were not so effective, because they were stage managed. You know you can’t lie to people forever. If you stage manage something, for example people that were asking questions had to be screened by party agents. They were told you must go and say this. So what we can ask is whether the President got the right recommendations,” he claimed.
Seibeb has also criticized the Erindi game reserve deal and told journalists that it can be reversed.
“It’s not permanent, it’s not fixed. But I think at this stage and the way the President was answering (that it’s) none of your business, maybe you must ask the President next time, how many shares he is having hidden in that deal,” he said.