• August 6th, 2020

Opinion: Something fishy at fisheries ministry

Jack Marshall Antonios

This opinion is response to the article ‘Fishing rights nearly hooked’ which appeared in the New Era newspaper of 17th October 2019.

New Era, you are the only recourse that the public has to display their dissatisfaction, given the fact that the large broader majority of the population is unable to engage in any real civic participation. 
As a concerned Namibian citizen, I will attempt to refer the minister of fisheries and marine resources Hon. Bernard Esau MP to the New Era newspaper of Thursday 17 October, where the honourable alluded that the evaluation committee, set up to evaluate 5 000 fishing rights applications, has completed 80% of the work.

Last year 31 August 2018, in his ministerial statement on the completion of applications for 2018 marine rights, Esau assured the Namibian nation that the process would be transparent, fair, and define the government policy of inclusivity and particular empowerment of the previously disadvantaged Namibians.
The honourable minister’s 31 August romantic statement and the recent New Era article, ‘Fishing rights nearly complete’, are void of any truth in essence; it is just a political cacophony to create disquiet, and is only just a temporary promise most likely to satisfy the poor povos. 

You have set up a “competent panel of professionals”, whose recommendations will not be known to the public on the basis of your statement that only successful applicants will be corresponded with. How will we know why we failed, or is this done to accommodate those who elect the greedy elite and their cohorts?
Comrade minister, trust is gained through transparency and accountability, while secrecy and evasiveness breeds suspicion. You are being insensitive towards the cause of the poor people; there is no room for the poor in your heart. Your untruthfulness directly undermines our intelligence; it directly undermines the constitutional commitment, our basic rights and dignity.

We believe that there is a secret pact; in fact, a conspiracy between the fisheries minister, lawmakers who own fishing quotas and those who are aligned to him and the justice minister to rush the amendment of the 2018 fishing rights application criteria and requirements, making it impossible for slum dwellers (povos). It has the hallmark of a Mafioso organisation with emphasis on a code of silence.
We suspect there is the ugliest rot at that ministry. Our lawmaker has colluded to advance their selfish interest. 

Allegations are that the evaluation committee has already completed the evaluation of all applications in March 2019, and the process of verifying the eligibility of all applicants in view of legal requirements, according to a source familiar with the matter.

It is further alleged the evaluation report and recommendations for successful applicants was submitted to your office for action, but the honourable wants to drag the gazetting of those recommended to favour and benefit mostly the well-connected and some members of Namibians based on tribal or ethnic considerations at the expense of more needy and deserving applicants.

Ordinary people are side-lined in favour of the rich and the middle class, such as permanent secretaries, directors and other high-ranking officials and their families. 

That’s self-centeredness; these things are the ones creating uncertainty, anger and frustrations among people. That is not to say that there are not many who are diagnostically opposed to the executive in person, and will, therefore, not see anything good in his policies and actions in office.

While, there are those who are supportive of the government but feel very disappointed with the recent turn of events in the ministry of fisheries in particular regarding the freshly released lawmakers’ assets register and how sophisticated corruption is in Namibia’s fishing industry, as well as the kickbacks in millions of Namibia Dollars.

The Minister and his like-minded gangster lawmakers did a profound damage to the nation and, indeed, a profound damage to Namibia’s economy.

The Namibian fishing sector is infested by greedy money managers/hypocrites who are now panicking that they may lose their grip on fishing rights and quotas should the government open up the grey area of elites-only club, which is why the minister of fisheries is dragging on gazetting the names of successful applicants.

That is why you will craft or device all kinds of hilarious, evasive clarifications and answers to cover up their flaws. We have lost hope and trust in our people whom we call our leaders. We have had a lackluster approach in this and many other serious challenges we are facing.

The sense of hope in broader society has dissipated, and social cohesion seems to be withering. Rampant selfish interest, in broader leadership and within the party, is the stock of trade. You don’t care about us. 
You don’t have the electorate at heart. They forget the people after elections; in fact, these high-ranking officials/politicians resent to see the povos being taken care of by the government.
Swapo should be seen for caring for its people all the time – not just in election time. I rest my case!

Staff Reporter
2019-11-08 09:04:02 | 8 months ago

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