Don’t Confuse Corruption with Incompetence

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Dear Editor Please allow me space in your newspaper to comment on Mr Kuvee Kangueehi’s article published in the same paper on Friday, 21 April 2006. Mr Kangueehi’s article as I see it, seems to evaluate or analyse the performance of the President’s one year tenure in office. When I read the article, I immediately noticed that Mr Kangueehi went on straight to attack the President on his stance on corruption. I expected a journalist of Mr Kangueehi’s calibre, to at least inform and educate the nation fairly about the effects of corruption and not to confuse as I see is the case. Mr Kangueehi started his article by saying, “Despite the fact that he (the President) completed 20% of his term, not much change is visible in terms of tangibles to alleviate the plight of the poor.” He continued: “The President has been spending a lot of his oxygen on his anti-corruption crusade; he has been using his much needed energies on an issue that has little impact on the livelihoods of the people that have voted him into power. ” President Pohamba has done a lot of tangibles in the short time span he is in office. To mention some: He authorized N$10 m for Mariental flood relief. Pensioner’s monthly allowance increased to NS370.00 in his tenure. Education and training continue to receive the biggest chunk of the national budget, also health. The recently concluded ETSIP pledging conference forked in N$357m in donations towards educational improvement. In his opening of Parliament this year, the President pledged to activate economic activities in the regions so as to ease the plight of the poor. His stance on anti-corruption. Why should corruption be fought, and how does corruption affect the poorest of the poor in a negative way? Through corruption the funds needed to improve the plight of the poor is drained by some selfish corrupt officials for their benefit. Consider the N$30m which remains unaccounted for from the SSC to liquidated Avid. Could this money not have been better used to address the plight of the poor through social grants? Does this not justify the President’s stance on corruption? Some corrupt senior officials in the public and private sectors recruit on a nepotism basis, thus giving the jobs to those that relate to them (in one way or the other). But not rightly qualified. This takes away the chances of those in our society that badly need these jobs, for themselves as well as their families’ survival. Should these corrupt tendencies not be fought so that equal job opportunities persist for all? To quote Mr Kangueehi’s perception that the President “has been using his much needed energies on an issue that has little impact on the livelihoods of the people that have voted him into power”. I perceive this statement as a baseless and unqualified statement from a person who is supposed to inform the nation in a fair-minded manner. How can corruption have little impact on the livelihoods of the poor? Consider the case where money from a public broadcaster like the NBC is misused for personal gains leaving the corporation unable to broadcast certain critical programs intended to educate the poor and so effect their livelihoods for the better? Let me take an example from beyond our borders. The former Zaire now DRC is one of the richest countries on the continent in terms of natural resources, but I am made to understand that the majority of the citizens in that country are poorer than we are in Namibia. Why is that so in a country that even has raw materials needed for the production of cellular phones? It is because the funds (national resources) have been pocketed by the few to the detriment of the majority. I am made to understand that the former President (the late Mobutu) was richer than the country itself. That is why he dared to drink water from a river in France. If our own President, His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba does nothing on corruption as you seem to suggest, are we not going to see the same scenario happening in our beloved Namibia. And if that happens who is going to suffer more, if not the poor, Mr Kangueehi? I do not agree with Mr Kangueehi that cases at SSC,NBC, ODC, are because of poor governance or incompetence. How can it be poor governance if for example those at ODC Management deliberately ignored the board before the investment decision was made? Why are companies where money is invested not credible companies? Why should it always be companies without a trace or individuals with fake addresses? Let us call a spade a spade. Do not confuse incompetence with corruption. To me that is dangerous. The recent case of Mr Mbako at AFS and the Government Garage, clearly demonstrates the difference between corruption and incompetence or do you call that incompetence if a person issues fictitious invoices Mr Kangueehi? We all have a hand in supporting the President as a nation towards the attainment of Vision 2030. I expect the media, the print media so to speak, to shed more light to the grassroots what part they can play in attaining Vision 2030, or do you expect the President to do that? The government has a responsibility towards its citizens, rightly so, but individuals in positions of authority have to play their part too. If they do not do so, then we must seriously re-evaluate ourselves as a nation. The President as a person cannot do much without our support, the media included. Let us fight corruption jointly and embark on a journey to achieve that dream – Vision 2030. That is all of us, not only the President. My views remain open for debate. Kanutus Djalukeni Ainima Ongwediva