Grotesquely irresponsible conduct

25 March 2019 | Columns

Revelations regarding government spending N$70 million towards the upgrading of former president Sam Nujoma’s house on the outskirts of Windhoek were laid bare last week.

The Namibian reported that construction work for Nujoma’s house was initially estimated to cost N$20 million, but it increased by a whopping N$50 million to bring the total cost to N$70 million. Just last week we were also critical of government having reportedly discussed an idea to erect a N$2 million elevator at the state property being used to house former vice-president Nickey Iyambo, while a new bill is being rushed through parliament to make provision for his upkeep. While government is unlikely to explain the ballooning costs associated with the N$70 million upgrades to Nujoma’s house, the Namibian people are growing increasingly sickened by the bloated sense of entitlement these days. It must be mentioned that the former president, according to media reports, never wanted the upgrades to his house, but clearly some people saw this as an opportunity to loot.

Measures to cut costs are ruthlessly being implemented at many government offices, agencies and ministries. As I pen this editorial, thousands of jobs have been shed due to a poor performing economy, which has resulted in big and small enterprises cutting expenses to the bare minimum. We have also seen an acute shortage of medicine being reported countrywide, while there are not enough classrooms and textbooks for learners. It clearly appears now that the economic crisis befalling our nation has presented an opportunity to loot from the meagre government resources. Or how else does one explain N$70 million being paid to upgrade a one-storey home? Where did the extra N$50 million go to and where is the entire bill of quantities to prove this? The nation needs answers and whoever sanctioned these huge costs must account to the Namibian people. This grotesquely irresponsible conduct, when it comes to taxpayer funds, can and should no longer be tolerated.