The broadcast of the televised press conference of Dr Hage Geingob’s first 100 days in office has been met with mixed feelings.
Among the remarkable opinions expressed was an article in the Windhoek Observer dated July 3, 2015, and titled, “Geingob urged to walk the talk”. The said article constitutes opinion from four – not only leaders of the opposition parties – but also members of the National Assembly.
For readers to critically analyse the opinions expressed by the opposition, allow me to quote Article 45 of the Constitution of Namibia: “The members of the National Assembly shall be representative of all the people and shall in the performance of their duties be guided by the objectives of this Constitution, by the public interest and by their conscience.”
Thus, in Parliament we all ascribe to one national political goal, that of poverty eradication.
Let us focus on what they had to say. Firstly, DTA president McHenry Venaani highlighted some of the key elements of the president’s achievements during his first 100 days in office as follows: the introduction of new ministries, increase in the old age grant from N$600 to N$1000, eradication of poverty, promotion of industrialisation, job creation and the declaration of the president’s assets.
He then bemoaned the size of the executive branch, the financial effect of an enlarged Cabinet, the Affirmative Repositioning ultimatum and the suspension of the mass housing programme.
APP president Ignatius Shixwameni described President Geingob’s first 100 days as the “Talk Days”. He said there is more to be done by the Head of State and requested him to start practising what he has been preaching since he was sworn in. He also congratulated the president for increasing senior citizens’ monthly grant and for openly declarating his assets.
Nudo president Usuaije Maamberua believes that “it will be difficult to judge the Head of State based on his first 100 days in office”. He was concerned that the president might have created too high expectations among the public and that he was overly ambitious. He then urged the president to prioritise the issue of German reparations.
Rally for Democracy (RDP) secretary general Mike Kavekotora lauded the president for his first 100 days in office, adding that he still has much to do. He commended the Head of State for sharing the news on his progress during the first 100 days in office, describing it as an experience that we have not seen over the past 25 years.
Achieving the president’s goals depends on the extent to which members of Parliament and the National Council have accepted such goals as their own.
For interest’s sake, allow me to once more quote Article 63 of the Constitution: “The National Assembly, as the principle legislative authority in and over Namibia shall have power, subject to this Constitution, to make and repeal laws for the peace, order and good government of the country in the best interest of the people of Namibia”.
My understanding is that anybody who is part of the National Assembly or National Council, irrespective of which political party they belong to, is expected to be 100 percent part of the president’s set objectives.
Let’s look at one of the president’s goals: poverty eradication. Is this not a national goal? Is this not in the interest of all our people? Which of the aspiring political leaders do not consider poverty eradication as goal number one?
The answer to the question whether President Geingob has the right team to effectively and efficiently achieve the set goals, lies in an affirmative durable solution.
As the appointing authority, the president has the power, subject to the Constitution, to among others, establish and dissolve such government departments and ministries as the president may at any time consider necessary, or expedient for the good governance of the country.
With regard to the issue of overlapping responsibilities, Article 41 of the Constitution, clearly defines the political role of ministers at both ministerial and cabinet levels. Special advisors are technical experts, consisting of persons with unique skills and expertise that can help address specific national issues, such as constitutional, social economic, legal, and cultural, or diversity-based issues.
Poverty is the cause of all evils in our society. Thus, it must be combated with the seriousness it deserves.
Comrade President, your dream is our dream, thus, the fundamental political legacy generated during the first 100 and more days in your esteemed office remains the symbol of unity in diversity.