President Hage Geingob’s decision to pledge a portion of his salary underscores the core tenet of his message that if poverty is to be eradicated all citizens and entities have to join the fight, the presidency said.
Activist Job Amupanda was one of those who critiqued the president’s pledge. “My, our President is wrong. This is not just about him, but about radical economic transformation. His 20 percent salary is like giving small change to beggars. We don’t want populist handouts, we want radical economic transformation,” Amupanda said on Monday.
According to the former Swapo Youth League spokesperson: “From 2016 we are likely to be world’s second largest producer of uranium, but Namibia only has ten percent in Husab Mine while a whopping 90 percent belongs to the Chinese. In Rössing it’s the same, we only have 10 percent while foreigners own 90 percent.
“We don’t want handouts, but we want to take ownership of 90 percent of our economy that is in undemocratically owned by white monopoly capital that is less than 5 percent of the population. We want an indigenisation policy and not handouts,” said Amupanda.
“It is a personal contribution by the president to poverty eradication, whilst the government programme is being finalised and [will be] announced soonest,” said presidential spokesperson Albertus Aochamub. He emphasised that the pledge is not derived from taxpayers’ money, as some allege, “but proceeds from his entitlements as a salaried person with a day job.
“It is at some level a call to arms to all of us who are privileged and want to care of those less fortunate than ourselves. Each one has to take care of one,” he said.
Aochamub made it clear that the war on pverty is not a government challenge only, but that each citizen has to play their part, however small that role might be.
“The issues are complex and all proposals aimed at winning the war are welcomed,” he added.
Making the pledge last weekend, President Geingob said: “Yes, I understand the issue of creeping inflation and how it increases the cost of living. However, there are those who are just struggling to survive. Let all of us who are employed think about how we can reduce spending and sacrifice our salaries, rather than fighting for increments when you are employed and at least have an income.”
Geingob said it is not too much to ask those who are fortunate enough to have employment to think about their brothers and sisters, who have nothing.