RDP says planned HKIA upgrade not a priority

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Windhoek

The N$7 billion earmarked for the planned upgrade and expansion of the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) could have been used to benefit all Namibians, says the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Jeremiah Nambinga.In a statement issued on Tuesday, the RDP leader said he was shocked to learn that government has decided to proceed with the upgrade of HKIA at the cost of N$7 billion.

It would have made more sense if the money were spent on other priority areas, such as the upgrading of dilapidated hospitals and clinics in the country, or to feed the 42 percent of Namibians who are undernourished, he said.

He advised that President Hage Geingob should visit hospitals without prior announcement to see how and under what conditions the majority of Namibia’s poorest are being treated.

Alternatively, Nambinga said the money could be used to build more classrooms and also accommodation facilities for teachers. Perhaps overstating his case somewhat, Nambinga claimed that “most Namibian children schoolchildren are accommodated in shebeens”. This should be a priority, he charged.

Nambinga further said: “The majority of Namibians cannot afford to pay for a private hospital, nor are they able to find good Samaritans to pay their medical bills at private hospitals where quality medical care services are available.” He said if the decision to spend N$7 billion on upgrading the airport goes ahead, it would be proof that the governing party “underestimates the intelligence of the Namibian electorate”.“… The Swapo-led government does not care, and will never care about the plight and conditions under which the majority find themselves,” he alleged: “Why should billions be spent just to impress the minority, who use and benefit from such development, at the expense of the majority of our people.”

He said if the leaders of government are in any doubt over what the RDP is saying, the – now somewhat diminished – opposition party would assist the government by showing “the level of dilapidation of hospitals and clinics in the country”.

He further said, at this time when learners throughout the country are returning to school, it would have made more sense if the N$7 billion were used to provide adequate classroom space and accommodation for learners and teachers.

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