Dark shadow over fishing quotas

26 February 2020 | Opinion

With a total of 5 190 fishing rights applications received by 31 August 2018 for the 90 to 120 rights available in the new allocation cycle, many Namibians are holding their breath ahead of the announcement.

These applications represent a massive increase from previous processes, where the number of applicants ranged between 500 to 1 500.

This speaks to a hunger to share in their country's resources, especially fisheries. Hanging like a dark cloud over the allocation process, which we report today is expected to be finalised at the end of March, is the soul-destroying allegations that a few individuals, with their hands on the levers of power, had used our country's resources to get stinking rich. The so-called Fishrot saga continues to expose just how tainted and abused our government processes have become in Namibia.

With this in mind, it remains highly suspect that the quota allocation process, started by a former fisheries minister who is now among the Fishrot accused, has been allowed to run to its conclusion. This immediately raises questions around the bona fides of the process and whether ordinary Namibians can trust the outcome. As allegations of favouritism and cabals being positioned to benefit from the latest quotas increasingly swirl, it becomes even more critical for this process to be beyond reproach.

The last thing the incoming administration of 21 March needs is backlash when the new quota owners are announced and their political and other connections are exposed. Ordinary Namibians everywhere have grown tired of processes that seem to exclusively favour the connected in one of the most unequal nations in the world. This is a golden opportunity for leadership to be shown in this regard.

It is no longer good enough to talk; it is time to walk the walk and deliver a fully transparent and ethical process that will be accepted by those who remain hungry and ostracised from the feeding trough in the country of their birth.

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