In Namibia, it is common for people not give credit where it’s due, evermore so when it comes to our current President, Dr Hage Geingob. People are quick to malign an individual, but slow to acknowledge someone’s achievements or good deeds.
I have thus endeavoured to highlight several good deeds that our current President is involved in that many people around the country are not aware of. Contrary to what some malevolent individuals would have you believe, the President is a charitable man; he is a man who believes in helping the needy, a man who believes in taking care of the old, a man with a compassionate heart.
Tasked with the most important job in the country, all these great qualities tend to be overshadowed by the current economic and political crisis that the country is facing.
During his tenure as the Minister of Trade and Industry, he embarked on an outreach programme, visiting all the regions in the country, accompanied by the staff of the ministry, in order to interact with the local community members and to engage with them on different issues that the local residents face each day.
This was seen as an opportunity for the local individuals to air their concerns and their opinions on what changes they would like to see happen within their communities. After all the consultations were held, a collective decision was made by the ministry to purchase machinery for the selected individuals to help them sustain themselves.
The machinery ranged from wheel alignment machines, farming equipment, salon equipment, baking and catering machines, printing and embroidery, as well as sewing machines – to mention a few. Thus, the Equipment Aid Scheme was born. Today, many people have benefitted from this programme. A large number of these people have become extremely successful and have gone to create employment within their communities.
Since the year 2010, the President has pledged to donate five heads of cattle annually from his farm. The cattle will be distributed to several municipal councils in order to meet the needs of the old age people within those municipal areas.
The cows are donated every December, so that they can be slaughtered and prepared as part of a Christmas lunch for our elders. It is a stark reality that most of our elders are often left alone during the festive season, thus the idea was conceived to have a Christmas lunch to bring all the elders together during this joyous time.
The carcasses are often delivered at the municipal halls and kept there until such time that they are needed to be prepared. The beneficiaries of this initiative are in the towns of Kalkfeld, Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb and lastly Grootfontein. The President chose these areas because of the personal bond he has with the area, having been born in the central region of the country. Furthermore, being the busy man that he is, he has gone on to pledge a total amount of N$30,000 from his salary to purchase much-needed food items for the needy people in the towns of Otjiwarongo, Otavi, Tsumeb, Kalkfeld and Grootfontein.
More than 45 individual households benefit from this programme. Every month-end, the money is transferred directly to the Agra account to purchase the household items. The items range from maize meal, tinned fish, washing powder, salt sugar, tea, to many more. The food is delivered every month-end.
As if this is not enough, in July 2017, the President pledged an additional N$10,000 from his salary to fund the same programme since more people were identified as being in dire need of these donations. This brings the total amount to N$40,000. On top of this amount another N$20,000 is also pledged from his monthly salary towards the One Economy Foundation to assist in the education initiatives.
Many of those working close with the President can testify to his sincerity and philanthropic nature, namely the bodyguards and the drivers, who have a free meal ticket whenever the President has lunch each day, be it at work or at a private restaurant. He also goes as far as giving the police officers who are assigned to him a full cow carcass whenever he decides to spend some time at his farm around the festive season. This is the nature of a humane and caring individual.
The President is doing his best in his personal capacity to help the Namibian nation where he can. He is not obliged to do any of the above-mentioned, however, he still does it because of the empathy he has for the Namibian people at large.
He is not only talking the ‘war on poverty’ but he is walking it. The President also has his own family members to take care of, which he does in his capacity as a family man and not the President.
This was written to try and offer a balanced view and change the perception that people have about the President; that of not caring about the Namibian people – because he truly does.
In conclusion, let us appreciate what the President is currently doing for the people of Namibia. He is a single human being, tasked with the most important job in the country. Running a country is not easy, and no president has ever said it was a smooth and easy task.
Being president of a country comes with a lot challenges and criticism. Amidst all this, our President still finds the time to be compassionate towards the ordinary people around him. Let us recognise and acknowledge his efforts. Let us thank him for trying. Let us endeavour to emulate his philanthropic deeds.
* Joseph Kudumo is a personal assistant to President Hage Geingob.