President Hage Geingob expressed dissapointment with media reports that aim to tarnish and ridicule his administration.
His statement follows reports in which he was quoted as saying that he has never seen Namibian pupils being taught under trees, and that teachers should construct makeshift structures while waiting for proper classrooms from government.
Geingob told New Era recently that his remarks made during the opening of Cabinet were taken out of proportion as it was not what he meant, and not the main message of his speech.
“My comment was taken out of context, people are looking for things to ridicule me and make me like I have no humanity. I did not endorse that. I have travelled to this country and I have seen the condition of different schools. I was just relating to the issue of the teacher in Kavango during my visit there who was cooking outside while it was raining and I told him, while the government is attending to the matter put one pole there, one here and cover your kitchen for the time being,” he clarifies.
He said he understands the importance of education and this is why he is paying for the education of many people.
“I pay schools for people who are not my family. Why? Because I understand the importance of humanity and education. And now people want to ridicule my administration and me as a president so that I cannot leave with a good legacy,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Geingob has urged members of the diplomatic corps to work together to resolve common issues to secure peace and stability, and strengthen bilateral relations in all corners of the globe. He was speaking during the new year’s greeting with the diplomatic corps at State House on Friday evening.
At the event, the President said Namibia will continue to prioritise the deepening of mutually-beneficial relations with the overall objective of securing lasting peace and stability, as well as sustainable growth and prosperity in all corners of the globe.
“Namibia assigns great importance to mutually-beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation with your respective countries and international organisations,” noted Geingob.
“I hope that 2023 will be the year when we develop greater platforms for dialogue and cooperation as this is the only way to restore peace and stability in the world. In this regard, I have two dictums about war which I wish to share with you, and these are ‘when diplomacy fails, countries go to war,’ and ‘one does not make peace with friends, but one makes peace with enemies’. Therefore, diplomacy must prevail”.
Moreover, Geingob reiterated that there are common challenges which demand increased cooperation between all the countries, and need immediate action.
The challenges the President listed are climate change, food security, energy, growing pressure on natural resources, terrorism, violent extremism, migration issues and trafficking in persons.
The Head of the State explained that he has undertaken several successful outbound bilateral visits to a number of countries, and equally received numerous high-level bilateral visits aimed at consolidating ties.He also assured the diplomatic corps that Namibia remains committed to overcoming energy poverty.
“I am pleased to state that with the assistance of several of your countries, we have made progress in this regard. The recently-signed MoU with the European Union on Sustainable Raw Materials and Renewable Hydrogen opens up investment opportunities that are geared towards turning Namibia into a clean energy hub, with the potential to export to other countries within the continent and beyond,” he observed.
Thus, Namibia is quickly emerging as an early entrant in the green energy market, with ambitions of becoming a leading exporter of green hydrogen.
Equally, Geingob said the discovery of oil has the potential to enable Namibia to become the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Namibia is committed to the maintenance of international peace and security, good governance, democracy and the rule of law. As such, it’s my strong conviction that we cannot truly speak about sustainable development in the absence of peace and security,” he stated.
He further elucidated that through the quest for maintenance of peace and security, Namibia assumed the chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in August last year, and is currently serving in the AU Peace and Security Council from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2025.
“As a chair of the Organ, Namibia launched successful SADC Electoral Observation Missions (SEOMs) in Angola and Lesotho, and also undertook a working visit to the Kingdom of Eswatini to better understand the situation on the ground,” he continued.
Furthermore, Namibia continues to call for the legitimate reform of the UN Security Council.
“The reform is integral to redressing the historical injustice done to the African continent. Therefore, the African continent and its people must receive their rightful place in the international system, with an equal voice in the United Nations. In this regard, Namibia continues to advocate for the Common African Position, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, which remains the most viable option to redress the historical injustice,” the President said.
Earlier on Friday, Geingob received farewell courtesy calls from Jorge Eduardo S. De Figueiredo, outgoing ambassador of Cape Verde to Namibia and Prashant Agrawal, outgoing ambassador of India to Namibia.
During the event, both Geingob and De Figueiredo stressed the need to strengthen relations between Namibia and Cape Verde in order to promote trade and business for the benefit of the two countries.
On his part, Agrawal stressed the importance of the existing bilateral relations between the two countries, which date back to the period of Namibia’s struggle for liberation.
He stressed that during his tenure, he finalised a number of agreements between the two countries which were pending for some time.
“We have increased the number of students who are studying in India through scholarships. We also reached 1000 business-to-business meetings to boost the economic sector,” he added. This relationship culminated in various forms of business cooperation between Namibian and Indian companies, especially in the diamond industry. The relationship has also afforded many Namibian students an opportunity to study at Indian universities.