WINDHOEK – Presidential press secretary Dr Alfredo Hengari has reacted strongly to recent media reports that he labelled as fake news aimed at tarnishing the good name of President Hage Geingob and of the country, and to influence voters ahead of next week’s crunch elections.
Namibians head to the polls next Wednesday to elect a president and members of the National Assembly.
“This is an election campaign period, and it is now very apparent that … Namibians are curiously being bombarded with negative and largely distorted articles coinciding with a time when they must take a decision about the candidate and political party of their choice,” Hengari said yesterday.
Yesterday’s media statement by the presidency was the third slamming the media this week.
Hengari said President Geingob has repeatedly said at rallies, ‘It is a contest and not a war, don’t play the man, play the ball.’
Also, he said, Geingob in his introduction at every campaign rally, and prior to that during the town hall meetings, has been saying: ‘Namibia is the only country we have, and we should not destroy it. It does not take long to destroy a country, but it takes long to rebuild.’
He said the proliferation of news articles seeking to tarnish the name of Geingob by foisting it by hook or crook in reports is not innocent.
“The ‘Fishrot scandal’ and the Kora Awards are, in a calculated manner, timed to influence the outcome of the elections, with more reports expected to be released ahead of Wednesday (election day),” he said.
Hengari said Geingob has been asked to respond to questions on the Kora and Fishrot scandals, to which responses have been meticulously and exhaustively provided on several occasions to domestic and foreign media.
But disturbingly, Hengari said, some questions are deliberately submitted late, with the script already written and predetermined.
“On the Kora Awards, a matter which is sub judice, and for which further comment by the President can be viewed as undue influence on the pending Court proceedings, the President is more than clear that good ideas can be badly executed,” which is the case with the Kora Awards, he said.
Hengari said Geingob was firm in saying the Kora Awards could go ahead in Namibia provided taxpayers’ monies were not spent to host the awards.
“Worryingly, the statements by Adjovi are not under oath and it is expected that the President should respond to such political propaganda, whose purpose is manifestly to advance the local and foreign media’s malicious and politically motivated agenda before the vote on 27 November 2019,” thundered the presidential spokesperson.
He said Geingob has emphasised processes, systems and institutions, and in that regard has repeatedly directed that business ideas must be channeled to line ministers, and not the presidency.
He said organiser Ernest Adjovi was referred to the line ministers in the organisation of the Kora Awards and no negotiations took place with the president nor was he allowed to visit the president at State House.
“Attempts to interfere with the choice of Namibian voters to make their democratic choice by executing a campaign of disinformation are regrettable,” he stressed.
Hengari says the peace and stability Namibians enjoy should be cherished as a precondition for their prosperity, adding: “Attempts through disinformation campaigns by media houses to tarnish the image of the country and the President are counterproductive.”
“Corruption in Namibia is not systemic, nor is it endemic. However, the commitment of President Geingob to fight the scourge of corruption is total. The President will spare no effort to root it out of Namibia,” he noted.