Geingob tears into investor critics

The president says freedom of speech has been weaponised by some to scare away huge potential investors.

11 August 2021 | Government

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

President Hage Geingob says the media’s scrutiny of investors has robbed the country of investment. He made the remarks during a courtesy call by Canadian oil company ReconAfrica yesterday.

ReconAfrica founder Craig Steinke paid Geingob a visit to brief him on the company’s progress with regards to its exploration activities in the Kavango East Region, where it is currently searching for oil. ReconAfrica faced scrutiny that was largely covered in the media with criticism by some environmental activities, allegations of illegal occupation and drilling in some villages as well as allegedly failing to implement standard environmental protection.

The president further said Namibia is a country of laws and regulations, therefore, investors should follow the policy chains, which ReconAfrica has done through the ministries of mines and environment to ensure that all its processes are done lawfully.

Steinke had been asked what his opinion was on a Viceroy report that alleged that there was no oil in the region the company was currently exploring.

“This is the problem with Namibians… people want to come here to invest, they chase them away with their negativity,” Geingob said.

“Epupa [Baynes Hydropower project], they chased them away, they are still poor and crying. Kavango is poor, they say they are the poorest, and we bring investment there to create jobs,” he said.

The president further took issue with the line of questioning at the visit.

“When it comes here it is a courtesy call just for me to be informed, now you are coming to ask them at State House, this is State House,” he said.

‘Democracy is new’

Speaking to Steinke before he left, Geingob added: “Democracy is new so we talk too much”.

Mines minister Tom Alweendo also defended ReconAfrica’s presence in the country, saying it may well be one of the most significant investments in Namibia.

“I think as a country we should all be desperate for investment; we know the economy hasn’t been growing.

“For the last number of years, there have been a number of independent variables in our economy. If you really get good investment - and this could be one of the good investments - certainly yes, I would say we are desperate,” he said.

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