• July 10th, 2020

High expectations for SONA… Geingob expected to zoom in on corruption, Covid-19 fallout

As President Hage Geingob prepares to present his State of the Nation Address in the National Assembly this Thursday, political commentators expect the head of state to zoom in on corruption, transparency and accountability.
He is also expected to touch on the nation’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, which is taking a devastating economic toll on billions of people worldwide. 

Political commentator Graham Hopwood said the SONA will obviously be dominated by government’s response to the Covid-19 health emergency and he hope to hear more about what government is going to do to help the poorest and to provide help for businesses. 
 “Shiimi’s (finance minister) budget speech did not shed much light on further welfare and assistance measures - instead putting off key decisions until the mid-year budget review. But it is also important that the SONA speech addresses other key developments in the last year - in particular the impact of the election result,” said the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director. 
However, he said, there should also be some indication in the speech of the results of the introspection that has taken place following the reductions in the President’s and the ruling party’s vote shares. 
“The results of the election were a wakeup call and it would be good to hear what policy responses are being planned to restore public trust in government. 

The speech should address the Fishrot scandal. I hope the President will outline what government is doing to ramp up the fight against corruption and new measures that are planned to boost transparency and ensure we do not have any more such scandals,” said the veteran journalist. In addition, Hopwood said, Geingob speech should also look beyond Covid-19 and look at the hepatitis E situation and what has been done to improve sanitation in the informal settlements countrywide. 

“The outbreak of hepatitis has been ongoing for more than two years now. Hepatitis has affected 1 000 of people and more than 60 people have died,” he said. Senior lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) Admire Mare said he expects the President’s address to focus on how the government will address the budget deficit and how will small to medium enterprises, especially those in the tourism, transport, educational and manufacturing sectors will be assisted to deal with the impact of Covid-19. 

“The President must also address the situation of opening our borders given that most transmissions have been imported into the country. He should also deal with how schools are going to deal with lost time during the lockdowns,” he said. Political analyst and academic Ndumba Kamwanyah said he expects President Geingob to assure the nation that the country’s measures to address the Covid-19 threat are intact and ready, especially in a situation where the country might experience an uptick in new cases. 

“I also expect President Geingob to inform the nation about the short-term, medium term and long term measures to reignite the economy and offset the impacts from Covid-19,” he said. “Employment creation and productive sectors must be an integral part of it. Three, a State of the Nation that draw on lessons learned from the Covid-19 and lockdown experiences, especially with regards how to make Namibia sustainable and self-reliant.” Kamwanyah also expects the head of state to acknowledge the sacrifices and hardworking of all the essential workers as well as the positive and patriotic spirit shown by all Namibians during these trying times.


Photo: Emmency Nuukala


Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2020-06-02 10:23:16 | 1 months ago

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