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Speculation on State of the Nation

2014-03-27  Mathias Haufiku

Speculation on State of the Nation
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"WINDHOEK - President Hifikepunye Pohamba will today deliver his last State of the Nation address as the next such address will be delivered by his successor. Expectations of Pohamba’s final State of the Nation address varied, with DTA president McHenry Venaani speculating he would use the occasion to focus on his legacy. “It will be a valedictory statement since it will be his last time and he must focus on his legacy and tell the nation what he has done during his ten years as president – how many jobs were created, whether or not he pushed back the frontiers of poverty, basic services and amenities,” expanded Venaani on what he thought Pohamba would concentrate his speech on. “If he has not achieved all those,” said Venaani, “the president must make public how government envisages  addressing problems such as unemployment and the backlog of schools.” “It is a very serious statement that he has to make. I was disappointed during the independence celebrations because he did not make a strong statement on what he has done during his time,” Venaani said. The Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) secretary general Rocco Nguvauva said Pohamba should focus on critical challenges facing the farming sector. These should include issues such as unfair labour practices, low wages and the eviction of farm workers, said Nguvauva. “People are being evicted from farms where they have been staying for years, so there are many cases of unfair labor practices on commercial farms. Although the union is negotiating an increment, farm workers are neglected. There is also a high HIV/AIDS rate among farm workers because they cannot access health services,” said the NNFU secretary general. He also would like to see Pohamba touching on the issue of commercial farmers denying union members access to their farms. “Accessing farms to visit farm workers is a challenge because farm owners claim it’s private land,” he said. IJG Securities Research analyst, Rowland Brown, says the focus of the address could be political, more than economic, in nature because of the current phase of the political cycle. “I believe that some focus will remain on growth, unemployment and trade, however these are likely to be addressed in a fairly superficial manner,” he said. Brown said the current economic focus of the country should on capitalising on the current opportunities offered by the large growth in construction and the expected growth in mining and logistics. “In order to maximise the returns from these, and other such opportunities, government needs to focus on improving the general business environment within the country, and improve the provision and pricing of utilities and other services, particularly water, electricity, housing and similar,” explained Brown. Political analyst Dr Andrew Niikondo expects Pohamba to address education, TIPEEG, gender-based violence and the recurrent drought. “There are so many issues the president has to focus on but those ones are the issues that stand out for me,” said Niikondo. Niikondo added: “We have implemented free primary education and plans to roll out free education for secondary schools are also there, so the president must also touch on this,” he said.   By Mathias Haufiku"
2014-03-27  Mathias Haufiku

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