Last Sunday, Namibians witnessed another high-level display of unmatched accountability and transparency, when President Hage Geingob led the Swapo Party to account on the Fishrot saga in a live streamed and broadcasted address to the Namibian nation.
Undoubtedly, the Fishrot saga in which Namibia lost billions of dollars via the greedy Icelandic Fishing company, and millions from their equally greedy co-conspirators, has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many hardworking and honest Namibians, and we all agree that the perpetrators should be brought to book speedily.
President Geingob and the Swapo leadership, while they could simply have kept quiet and awaited the outcome of the ongoing police investigations, decided to clear the air around claims that Swapo Party may have benefitted from the illicit gains of the Fishrot saga.
It has been rumoured that since President Geingob’s 2017 campaign for the leadership of Swapo received monetary injection from the Fishrot saga, as well as the Swapo Party 2019 national elections, the entire Swapo leadership is morally bankrupt and should therefore resign. These types of statements are made in the streets, and drinking bars, not only by the uninformed, but mainly propagated by the party’s former secretary general and former prime minister.
The facts as laid bare by the Swapo president and leadership around which all the party structures should rally are as follows: Swapo never received a single cent in its official capacity as the Swapo Party. Meaning, no money came in from any source called Fishcor or Fishrot to Swapo Party, neither from any individual who came and presented a cheque to Swapo Party as “funds derived from Fishcor”. Individuals made donations as they did to all other political parties in their capacity as individuals. Therefore, Swapo Party could not have determined upfront whether any donations made by party members emanated from Fishcor or any criminal source.
Hence, only an impartial in-depth investigation could prove or disprove such an allegation. To this end, the President indicated that there would be such an investigation additional to the ongoing ACC and police criminal investigations into the Fishrot saga. Therefore, to demand presently as some do, that the President acknowledges the party has received Fishrot funds, is not only unreasonable and illogical but completely without any scientific empiricism as required from sound-minded people.
Secondly, the President indicated that prior to November 2019, there was no law regulating donations to political parties in Namibia.
If so, Swapo, and other political parties including the independent candidate, Dr Itula, who most certainly must have all received donations were not obliged to disclose such sources. Despite this legal situation, currently nothing stops Dr Itula, Mr Venaani and other opposition party leaders from taking the moral high ground and publicising a list of the donations, with amounts and their sources. This will publically prove their commitment to financial transparency in the same way they are expecting and demanding from Swapo. Sadly, to date none of the opposition political leaders including Dr Itula have declared their assets publically, as the President has done.
Finally, the President has pronounced the need for an investigation into the electoral funds of the party and also a commitment going forward for the party in compliance with the new electoral provisions on party funding, to declare its donations to the public. Unfortunately, this undeniably progressive and trendsetting development from Swapo seems not to have dawned on many opposition parties and journalists who irrationally and without any shred of evidence, except rumour-mongering, continue to ask for a confession and acknowledgement of guilt from Swapo.
The Windhoek Observer is one of those who have taken this too far with a personal diatribe against President Geingob, in a July 13, 2020 editorial. Claiming that the President took the low road and presented defensive bluster and selective phrasing, the editorial made the following very amusing statements: The notoriously media-hostile and inarticulate Swapo Party Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa, spoke up. She invited “anyone” to contact the Swapo office to access party financial records. We suspect this is the most insincere statement made that entire day. If that boast were real, those audited books should have been online simultaneous to the start of the media conference.
Is it maybe a matter of laziness and pettiness, and lack of professionalism from such media practitioners, or what is precisely the problem here? Why personally belittle the secretary general and not directly deal with the issue at hand?
Nothing stops the Windhoek Observer from taking up the invitation of the Swapo office to see the audited financials. Instead, they prefer to denigrate and attack the integrity of the secretary general, and in top voice their “suspicions that she is insincere”.
Swapo Party has financial and administrative staff, as well as a party secretary general responsible for finances, so why would the president of the party “know each and every serial number of the dollars leaving the Swapo Party account”?
This is a ridiculous statement to say the least. Speculations, pillow talks, and shebeen talks, presented as facts have always been a problem of the media practitioners in Namibia. We cannot find people guilty on the basis of our suspicions that “money bag men” may have brought in suitcases full of money for Swapo. Namibia is a country ruled by laws, policies and procedures; we should desist from trying to hang people based on our suspicions that they may be the “witches we have heard about in the villages”.
Audited statements are nationally and internationally accepted statements of fact on which our society revolves. Suspicions are just that, mere figments of imaginations of sometimes a mostly bitter and sick mind. If the Namibian media are really interested in the truth, they should do their job properly and produce evidence that can bring the perpetrators to book. Is it not clear when you talk about “indirect funding and in kind services,” that only an investigation as announced by the Swapo Party can determine the actual facts?
Our journalists should stop slandering and vilifying the President in pursuance of personal vendettas of our grandmothers and grandfathers who are supposed to have retired peacefully to their villages and farms and be tending their grandchildren, mahangu fields and cows, instead of stoking the fires of trouble. Yes, the truth we all need and eagerly seek in this matter as concerned patriotic Namibian citizens is about corruption.
However, we cannot replicate the white racist American Ku Klux Klan street-style lynching of black people in Namibia. It is apprehensible and against every ideal and objective we fought for to achieve the freedom and rights of particularly those black Namibians who were criminalised by apartheid racists, just because they happened to be born black.
“Heads cannot roll, guilt cannot be admitted, institutional corrections cannot be made and forgiveness asked for,” in the absence of an investigation, which has determined the guilt or innocence of people suspected of wrongdoings. That kind of approach that people would want the President to take will plunge this country into anarchy and the rule of dictatorship which none of us wish for ourselves. There is a golden wisdom in the saying, “do unto others what you would want to be done unto you”.
Every suspect is innocent before the Namibian law until so proven guilty by a competent court of law, and that court of law cannot be a kangaroo media, or kangaroo opposition parties acting as fake medieval courts of law of hearsay and suspicion. If we allow Namibia to lynch people on the basis of their suspicions and imaginations, we all need to be terribly afraid to stay in such a country of mob tyranny.
2020-07-17 14:07:57 | 16 days ago