Spending spree slammed

PDM says 'we are not yet Uhuru'

25 March 2019 | Government

The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) has expressed its dismay over the millions spent on this year's independence celebrations, while the country faces an economic crisis.

It said the event should have been cancelled.

Nudo secretary-general Josef Kauandenge said the reported N$2.3 million that was spent on the Independence Day celebrations is also not a true reflection of the total costs.

He claimed there are “hidden costs”, such as the expenses associated with Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta being the guest of honour at the Independence Stadium last Thursday.

“Indeed, now it is a fact that we have the most wasteful president in Namibian history. History will never be kind to the memories of our current president, as history will recall and name him as one of those presidents who just had an appetite for spending, irrespective of the dire financial situation at the time in his country,” said Kauandenge.

He said they expected Geingob to instead call off any celebration of independence, owing to the current hard economic realities

“Alas, but it was too much to expect this consideration from the president, as we have a very boastful president, a high-spending president, everything that he does must be on a grand scale; that is Hage Geingob for you, nothing comes in small packages for him.

“No wonder then that the yearly independence celebration budget was increased from N$1 million to N$2.5 million over the past two years all under his watch,” Kauandenge said.

He said Geingob chose to pour champagne and eat caviar in the face of jobless, destitute, hungry and malnourished Namibians, in the name of celebrating independence.

“What is there to celebrate 29 years down the road of independence? We hold this truth to be self-evident, that there is nothing to celebrate for poor ordinary Namibians, but pure misery has come to manifest itself in Namibia.”

Kauandenge said by holding this elaborate celebration, Geingob has in fact mocked Namibians across the country for their stupidity to elect him and Swapo, time and time again, while they continue to plunder the country's resources and spend on non-priority areas.



'Not yet Uhuru'

Meanwhile, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani said Namibians are among the most resilient people in the world.

“We have proved that pre-independence and we continue to prove it every day, when we face immense challenges to simply put a meal on the table for our families.”

Venaani said to highlight the challenges that ordinary Namibians face is in no way belittling the celebration of Independence Day.

“We love Namibia, which has sheltered and nurtured us all, amid its splendour and beauty. What we do understand is that the patience of our people is running out. The status quo cannot continue - the centre cannot hold.”

“I have said many times on many platforms that Namibia must come first, not politics - especially the kind of politics that simply uses our people like voting cattle.”

Venaani said he wants to see Namibians immediately cease hurting the most vulnerable, especially women and children.

“May we return to the values of our forefathers, who stood against oppression, so we could achieve political freedom!” he said.

“But as many have expressed over the years, and which is particularly apt in our current context in the Land of the Brave, poverty is the worst form of violence.”

He said Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga's autobiography titled 'Not yet Uhuru', in which he talks about the fact that even though the chains of colonialism had been broken in Kenya, his country is not quite free, has immense lessons for Namibia today.

Venaani said Namibia celebrates political freedom, largely without the restoration of the dignity of its people, “whether this is in the form of economic liberation or even owning a piece land in the place of our birth”.

“It can never be said that we are Uhuru when the vast majority - even those clapping and singing today - return to poverty and despair, when the music dies down.”

ELLANIE SMIT