Jobless graduates roast Geingob

A union of unemployed graduates says Geingob, who has been on government’s payroll for longer than the majority of graduates have been on earth, is contradicting himself.

07 December 2021 | Local News

ESTER KAMATI







WINDHOEK

The United Graduates’ Union of Namibia has hit back at President Hage Geingob for his comments on unemployment during a youth engagement last Friday.

Geingob told unemployed graduates that they should use their qualifications to innovate and create jobs for themselves instead of waiting for government to do so. He also remarked that government was not God, who, according to biblical teachings, has a solution to all challenges of mankind.

The remarks have sparked a barrage of criticism against Geingob, whose government is presiding over one of the highest unemployment rates the country has ever seen.

Unemployment in Namibia stood at 34% in July, due in part to lack of economic growth, and exacerbated by the advent of Covid-19.

Youth unemployment could reach a staggering 50.30% by the end of this year, the United Nations Population Fund predicted at the time.

That Geingob himself remains gainfully employed at the age of 80, and without any notable success in private business, has led to a public fury after his remarks made headlines.

“This is a slap in our faces, Mr President, because when you were campaigning, you promised us job creation to reduce unemployment among the youth and now you are contradicting yourself,” the union said.

The graduates blamed the education system and difficulty accessing financing for young people’s lack of motivation to start their own businesses.

Helpless

“Young people have job creation plans but they are accumulating dust on the desks of various organisations,” the union said.

“They want us to create our own jobs - with what financial means? Are they willing to help us, as reluctant as they are? They can't even pay tuition fees for those at institutions of higher learning, let alone fund us.”

The union’s president, Frans Ivula, said the only job opportunity available to young people is to become street vendors.

He further stated that the president’s remarks were misplaced, coming from “a civil servant who has been on government’s payroll for longer than the majority of graduates have been on this earth”.

He told Namibian Sun that governments have the responsibility to provide a conducive environment for business to thrive.

Corruption

“How then can a helpless youth without connections create jobs in a country with crooks who thrive on corruption?

“He is surely mistaken by blaming the youth for the miseries he and his Cabinet have created for this economy. The youth are not demanding jobs, they are asking for a chance to participate in the economy,” Ivula said.

“How many pensioners are sitting in public offices under his [Geingob’s] administration under the banner of comrades, and how many of them are earning three salaries or more?

“There are no jobs for graduates, but there are always enough for politicians and their comrades in corruption,” he fumed.

The union further asked how many jobs the president has created since taking office.

“How do you expect a child who grew up in a poor family with no urban dwelling whatsoever; who lives 40 kilometres from the nearest town; who studies a public sector course; who has no other means to take another course after graduation, to create employment for him/herself?

“I am sure there is not a single normal household that is not affected by this contagious manmade poverty called unemployment,” Ivula said.

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