Windhoek – Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua yesterday said the salary increment he and other politicians received in 2016 was somewhat justified, but tore into local newspapers for reporting that there was another increment lined up for this year.
His statement on Monday that he would not accept another pay increase – and that he would deem it as bribery if an extra cent was deposited into his account – proved to be a gaffe after it was eventually clarified that there no new pay hike was lined up.
Maamberua’s statement was widely ridiculed yesterday and provided fodder for social media jokes, but in his defence the Swanu leader explained he was made to believe by a number of local daily papers on Monday that another increment for office-bearers was on the horizon.
“The news was reported by a number of newspapers. I had no way of suspecting they all got their facts wrong. So, I reacted fast based on those newspaper reports, so that the decision is not implemented because of the current economic situation,” he told New Era yesterday.
“They must apologise for the misinformation… I am aware of the increment effected last year, but it looked as though there was another increment being lined up and I considered it insensitive and unwise. That’s why I was fast to reject it,” he said.
“In my view, no politician should receive an increment in the next two or three years until and unless the economy has recovered,” the sole Swanu MP said.
The Public Office-bearers Commission (POBC) made the recommendation for a six percent increment in the salaries of politicians, effective from April 1, 2016, which President Hage Geingob approved lasty year based on facts presented to him.
POBC head Oscar Muyatwa yesterday told New Era that increments for political office-bearers are based on research conducted annually on a number of variables, including inflation and consumer price indexes.
“Public officials are not immune to recession. Their purchasing power gets affected just like everyone else. They are part of society and are, therefore, not spared the effects of economic challenges,” he said.