Journalist lands in trouble for Fishrot question to Geingob
03 August 2020 | Government
Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) journalist Edward Mumbuu has found himself in hot water with his employer after he asked President Hage Geingob a Fishrot-related question at a Covid-19 press briefing held on Friday.
Geingob had called a press conference at State House where he updated the nation on revised regulations meant to curtail the spread of the pandemic following a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases.
During an answer-and-question session, Mumbuu asked Geingob whether he could ask questions that were not related to Covid-19.
“With your permission, I would like to put the questions to you, noting that you are our president 24 hours a day,” Mumbuu informed Geingob.
“Do I have permission?” Mumbuu asked, drawing the response: “I am listening,” from Geingob. Mumbuu asked Geingob whether it would not be wise for him to distance himself from lawyer Sisa Namandje, through whose trust fund N$17.5 million in Fishrot funds had passed. Namandje is Geingob's personal lawyer.
Mumbuu also asked Geingob about the transfer of police investigator Nelius Becker from the criminal investigation department to head up forensics, as well as the appointment of former spy Tylvas Shilongo as the new executive director of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Reacting to the questions, Geingob said: “Why did you not ask to come and see me?” “First, I don't appoint, move people around. There is also a belief that if somebody is being questioned, not found guilty, I must just, go to hell, you are not my daughter anymore,” Geingob said. Geingob also said that if he was involved in corrupt practices, it would have surfaced by now.
“If you are looking for something on me, by now you should have found it. Why are you witch-hunting still?” If by now I was involved you should have known,” Geingob said. Turning his attention to Namandje again, Geingob asked whether the lawyer had been found guilty.
Geingob accused the media of creating a bad impression of Namibia.
“What are you guys up to? You are destroying this country, making your country to seem like the most corrupt country which is not the case,” he said.
Agency distances itself
Nampa news editor Maggy Thomas summoned Mumbuu immediately and informed the agency's CEO, Linus Chata, that Mumbuu had been warned while an apology had been sent to State House.
Chata, when approached for comment, said the news editor on duty had made a judgement call.
“The manager responsible made a judgement which she felt did not represent Nampa's editorial policy. His supervisor felt that he did not represent what Nampa stands for,” he said.