Sibalatani Was a ‘Good Governor’

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Allow me to comment on the recent developments in the Caprivi region pertaining to Governor Sibalatani’s forced “unpaid leave” over the “spoiled” food scandal. The measures taken by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing leaves less to be desired, though Sibalatani and others were found to be negligent in handling the donated food aid – but booting them unceremoniously was wrong. The alleged severity of charges against them does not simply allow the degradation of a man’s dignity. Let alone forced leave, but sending people home without a pay cheque is tantamount to abuse and cruelty – especially where a matter has not been fully resolved. Meaning, the coffin nails have not been sealed yet! The investigation team had done its homework and it’s for the regional council to take appropriate measures in disciplining those involved. A process that shall require looking at the facts and scrutinizing the investigation process – to see its impartiality. And a process that might take much more time than anticipated, but disadvantaging the subjects defeats the very fundamental freedoms and rights that our Namibian Constitution guarantees. That a person shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty – from there is when punishment should follow not vice-versa. In the midst of such an investigation, it’s proper to ask the involved person to take leave – but not denying or withdrawing wages or benefits of such a person. Sibalatani was not caught embezzling public funds nor misappropriating taxpayers’ money. But it’s all a question of incompetence and mismanagement at stake. Therefore, freezing his salary and prematurely punishing him on monetary terms could backfire – subjecting the Ministry to a possible lawsuit, thus being a liability to a nation. Namibians must jealously guard against such unjust treatment and public humiliation. Today, we have government officials caught up in scandals that have drained Namibia of hundreds of millions – like the Offshore deals and corrupt official that tailor job requirements to fit their gloves at the expense of those that qualify, but nothing has been done to them. Why playing with double standards? For others, discipline is quick and swift whilst for some – we turn a blind eye. Is that fair? Our government policies, either for disciplinary measures or geared to install good conduct from public servants,- must portray a humane perspective, people are human beings and not machines. Last but not least, we sincerely hope Caprivi Governor Sibalatani will be paid his dues – until his political fate is decided upon. After all, he was a good governor! Thank you. Mulife Muchali Vancouver Canada