Windhoek-Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi yesterday called DTA president McHenry Venaani disrespectful for insinuating that President Hage Geingob was being economical with the truth over his handling of issues related to the national oil storage facility being constructed at Walvis Bay.
He was responding to questions posed by Venaani in the National Assembly regarding investigations into the storage facility. According to Kapofi, Venaani purportedly claimed President Geingob had said ‘heads would roll’ in the oil storage saga due to the escalation of the facility’s cost from a reported N$3,7 billion to N$5,5 billion.
“I believe that it is critically important that as Members of Parliament, and as Namibians in general, we endeavour to be factual at all times, especially when we attribute words or deeds to another person,” Kapofi said, adding that in this way, dignity of public discourse can be preserved.
Kapofi said inaccuracies, whether intentional or accidental, must be discouraged. “What is expected from the leader of the official opposition is accuracy and truthfulness,” he said.
Kapofi said the nation at large was aware, as reported in the media, that Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala has been directed to conduct an investigation into the storage facility.
He said those investigations have started and good progress has been made.
“Already, charges have been laid against some civil servants. We expect more light to be shed regarding shortcomings and/or irregularities in the implementation of the national oil storage project.
“The nation will be informed about the outcome of the investigations into this important project,” he said.
In cases of investigations, necessary procedures are followed to ensure they are thorough and above board. As such, he said, no effort would be spared to uncover the truth and ensure that the national interest is protected.
He said a cornerstone of fairness in the judicial system is based on the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a court of law.
“I am baffled and disheartened by Honourable Venaani’s insinuation that the president may not have been genuine and the remarks he made regarding the investigations were made to save face. I don’t know what Honourable Venaani intends to say here. Save face? Save face from what exactly? You owe this House and the nation at large an answer,” Kapofi charged.
He said in his view, the question by Venaani was not only disrespectful, but uncalled for. With that in mind, Kapofi said he wished to appeal to all MPs, as lawmakers, including DTA leaders to demonstrate the necessary level of respect and decorum when expressing their views, or when addressing each other.
“President Geingob has identified and made the values of transparency and accountability the centre-pieces of his approach to governance, because accountability plus transparency equals trust,” he said.
“It is important that public trust in the work and activities of public institutions and officials is strengthened.”