Opposition parties say they expect President Hage Geingob to reassure the nation on government’s fight against corruption as well as how the country will navigate its way through an economy, which like many, has been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Geingob is scheduled to deliver his seventh State of the Nation Address tomorrow afternoon before a hybrid joint sitting of the two houses of parliament. During his last SONA, the August House erupted in chaos as opposition parliamentarians protested against the Fishrot scandal. Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora said he expects Geingob to spend some time on allaying the fears of the nation that corruption has now gotten out of hand.
“I would also expect him to shed some light on his involvement in the Fishrot scandal. I would expect him to give some factual information to disassociate himself from the scandal,” he said.
Geingob has in the past dismissed reports linking him to the scandal, which has resulted in the prosecution of former Cabinet ministers who are due to go on trial later this month.
Kavekotora added he further expects the President to tell the nation how he is planning to address the “dire” economic situation facing the country and what measures are being undertaken by his administration to resuscitate the ailing economy.
All People’s Party (APP) leader Ignatius Shixwameni expects Geingob to outline three issues, which includes corruption, the state of the country’s economy and poverty.
“We expect the President to tell us what he is going to do to curb corruption because every day when you read the newspapers is about people who corruptly acquired money. He must not tell us of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) because that institution is useless and toothless, in fact, it must be shut down,” Shixwameni said.
Furthermore, Shixwameni said he would also want the President to speak in detail about how he will address the economic crisis baffling the nation.
“It is not a secret that the country is facing an economic crisis, what I want is for the President to tell us how he will get us out of this economic crisis not his usual rhetoric,” he said.
“Also, I want the President to address the issue of unemployment, especially among the youth. Every time we hear, this and this amount is allocated to the youth but there are no tangible results. The youth are suffering, what is he going to do in his last three remaining years to address issues affecting the youth. Unfortunately, I come from the two Kavango regions where poverty is so rife. So, the President should also tell us how he is planning to address the poverty that has gripped this nation.”
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters MP Kalimbo Iipumbu wants Geingob to come to parliament in person to explain to the nation what he is going to do to lift the Namibian people out of poverty.
“These things of doing virtual addresses should not happen. He must come in person and address us on how he is planning to address poverty,” Iipumbu said.
Landless People’s Movement MP Utaara Mootu shared the same sentiments as that of Iipumbu, saying they will want Geingob to be physically inside the chamber to ensure that he engages the opposition.
“We want the President in his statement to be transparent, his statement must reflect the current economic social and corrupt environment that we have been placed as a nation by his administration,” she said.
Inna Hengari of the Popular Democratic Movement said: “From the youth perspective, young people expect the President to address the state of the youth. It is important that the President speaks to the issues that young people are faced with. We expect the President to speak about youth unemployment in the country. Remember that, yes of course we are producing graduates from universities, but the biggest question is are we really producing employable graduates, this is the important aspect that government must look at.”
Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari yesterday said Geingob will be delivering a SONA within the difficult context of Covid-19.
“Covid-19 was preceded by an equally challenging period during which we dealt with a fiscal crunch due to declining commodity prices from 2014. These contextual factors are crucial to understand where Namibia is and the type of SONA the President will deliver,” he said.
These aspects, he said, notwithstanding, Geingob has shown a steady hand and it is self-evident in this year of resilience that the ship has a captain demonstrating the necessary vision and acumen to take Namibia to safety, thereby laying the bases for prosperity.
“Our government has been running, we have been providing services to Namibians, dealing with drought relief, providing social grants to about 1 million Namibians annually,” he said.