Trivialising corruption

09 December 2019 | Opinion

President Hage Geingob's defensive stance on corruption – capped by his remark on Friday that the problem is not systemic – cannot go unchallenged.

For a man who has lost three cabinet ministers in a space of five months to proven and alleged corruption, it is sad to see that the president still lives in denial.

Seeing that the courts are preoccupied with, for example, cases of the missing Kora money and the SME Bank debacle that led to job losses, Geingob is being insensitive with his remarks.

If anything, the fact that he is leading a nation that has taken action against the ministers and whose courts are dealing with other cases of grand scale corruption should be his rallying point – to say yes there is corruption but we are dealing with it.

He said rather than being true, the extent of corruption in Namibia is more of a perception. A perception, Mr Geingob?

Either the president has lost touch with the reality that many Namibians – including coastal fishermen who lost their jobs due to the greed of politicians – continue to endure, or he is deliberately trying to paint a glossy picture of a very worrying situation.

There was a sense of hope that finally we are in a country where the elite can no longer enjoy immunity for their thieving habits, but the president's remarks on Friday dashed such optimism.

“Systemic corruption” can be defined as an institutionalised, endemic manipulation of a system by individuals or networks/organisations for their own parochial interest.

The Fishrot saga, enabled by a circle of greedy friends who even went as far as amending the country's laws to somewhat legalise their thievery, is a perfect example of systemic corruption.

President Geingob seems to suggest this was just a trivial deviation by his former lieutenants. It's not. This is a perfectly hatched plot stretching for over half a decade to loot national resources.

Corruption is not only enabled by action of the culprits. The attitude at the top, such as that of the president, can also be a catalyst of such deeds if not bold and honest.

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