Curtail overarching powers of public officials

22 January 2021 | Opinion

Namibia must, as a matter of principle, discard all laws that give overarching powers to public officials to do as they wish with our strategic national resources.

Already, we are gasping for oxygen and short of breath at how the Geingob administration allowed the maligned Fisheries Act of 2015, also known as the ‘Esau Act’, to be used in the latest allocation of fishing rights.

The Act was clandestinely amended in 2015 to give Esau alone the power to allocate fishing quotas according to his own whims and mood of the day. After apartheid laws, there isn’t another piece of legislation that has caused more pain to Namibians.

Similarly, as reported in our front-page lead today, Sections 44 and 45 of the Diamond Act of 1999 give the minister of mines power to handpick contractors to deal in our diamonds without going on tender.

Simplified, our most precious mineral is left to one person to decide what to do with it, when and with whom.

Former mines minister Obeth Kandjoze single-handedly dropped a N$1.5 billion Namdia contract in the laps of rookie C-Sixty Investments, a sanitation company that was questionably ushered in to evaluate our diamonds.

C-Sixty took the “initiative” to write an expression of interest to Namdia seeking to valuate the company’s diamonds and Kandjoze duly complied without hesitation or permission from the real owners of the resource – the Namibian people.

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