WALVIS BAY – Fisheries minister Albert Kawana says he has been dubbed a villain and hero by the media and members of the public for his efforts in addressing issues in the sector in a transparent manner. Kawana made the observation yesterday during his annual fishing industry address and consultations that started in Swakopmund.
The minister has faced some heavy criticism since his appointment as the fisheries minister, especially in the allocation of quotas to certain companies as well as for the delay in allocating quotas to new applicants.
“They say Kawana is an idiot. Kawana is corrupt. That is what they are saying. However, I don’t need to be liked by everyone as I am not competing in Mr Universe,” Kawana said.
“My duty as guided by the Namibian constitution is to make sure that our natural resources are exploited in a responsible manner. Hence I am just carrying out my duties as appointed by President Hage Geingob.”
According to Kawana, employees of his ministry have also been labelled as “Fishrot employees” due to the ongoing corruption case that implicates former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau.
“They even fear to say that they are working at the fisheries ministry. Some have even been praying that the name of the ministry changes from fisheries and marine resources to marine resources ministry due to the labelling,” Kawana told the industry stakeholders and journalists.
He added that it is unfair that public sector employees are also labelled as corrupt, despite not being found guilty by a competent court of law.
According to the minister, it is an established fact that marine resources play a critical role in addressing poverty, contribute to economic growth, and play an important role towards achieving Vision 2030.
“This objective can only be achieved if there is proper coordination at all levels, meaning all stakeholders such as the government, the private sector industry, and labour come together and coordinate activities for the benefit of our nation. Some will certainly not be happy with the decisions taken, but we should take note that decisions are taken in the best interest of the Namibian people,” he said.