Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Panduleni Iitula has underscored the urgency of addressing financial mismanagement and corruption to rebuild vital economic sectors, and improve the overall quality of life for all Namibians.
During a general meeting in Rehoboth the past weekend, he pointed to financial mismanagement as the root cause of the health and medical challenges plaguing the country, suggesting that the misallocation of funds within Namibia has led to a dire health crisis.
Itula drew attention to the fact that over the past three decades, no new hospital of the same calibre as the Katutura Intermediate Hospital has been constructed to address the healthcare needs of the nation.
“Is there any new hospital up to the standards of the Katutura hospital built in this country for the past 33 years? No!”, he stated.
Drawing a comparison to the time when the Katutura Intermediate Hospital was established in 1973, Iitula observed a shift in the work ethic of healthcare staff. He lamented the erosion of the ethical standards which once characterised dedicated health professionals.
“When Katutura had white nurses in red and white-striped uniforms, that time there were real healthcare workers, not salary collectors. But the morals of our staff are not like back then,” he claimed.
Iitula’s concerns extended to the current state of healthcare standards, where he noted that some women in certain regions are forced to give birth on the floors due to inadequate facilities.
“Our health dilemma is now at the stage where medical staff have to choose who must die, like the old people can die, and the children can be saved. The health personnel are not supposed to be left with that situation,” he noted.
Iitula stated that the mismanagement of finances is not only affecting the health sector, but also other critical areas such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and law-enforcement. He traced these challenges back to fiscal mismanagement within ministries, asserting the government has operated with deficits for a significant portion of the past 33 years, except for a brief period when mining revenues provided a temporary boost.
“The cause of all these is because of the mismanagement of finances in the ministries, and our government has been in deficit for the past 33 years, except for two years. 2015 and 2016 were the times the mines were bringing in the machinery, but since then the money the government was planning to place for policing and for safety and security was not sufficient, and they had to do with the little they had,” he added.
Iitula further emphasised that misallocated funds have contributed to unnecessary expenditure, citing an example of a tender for condoms worth N$640 million. This was while crucial medical equipment, such as kidney machines, remained in short supply.
“Those are the social duties of the government to the nation,” he said.
He then called for stronger, more independent institutions, particularly the ACC and the Namibian Police force.
“The first thing we need to eradicate is corruption. Once we do that and make sure the money that was meant for the nation goes to the nation, then we might achieve poverty eradication,” the dentist-turned-politician said.
He pointed out the financial constraints various organisations face, highlighting instances where police vehicles have deteriorated due to a lack of funds for maintenance.
Reflecting on his visits to various towns and villages, Iitula shared a common thread of problems, namely inadequate police resources and poorly-maintained infrastructure. He recounted an incident in Groot Aub ,where a woman who had been a victim of a break-in was told by the police that they couldn’t respond due to a lack of available vehicles. The IPC leader also slammed the impracticality of expecting crime victims to travel long distances to police stations to report incidents.
He stressed that eradicating corruption is paramount in ensuring funds intended for the nation are appropriately utilised, which could ultimately lead to poverty eradication.
Itula likewise suggested implementing a basic income grant for every household as a measure to alleviate poverty and boost economic recovery, along with enhancing the living conditions and social opportunities for the elderly.