Swapo backbencher Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana yesterday heaped praise on President Hage Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), saying it had the vibrancy she missed.
Geingob fired Iivula-Ithana as home affairs minister in February, along with Jerry Ekandjo, then sports minister.
“I really appreciated the SONA of this year. The President set a tone not only to his Cabinet but also to the nation as a whole, to the young, to the old, to the rich and the poor. This is what we are supposed to do as a government. He has outlined it. He spoke really in a vibrancy that I missed for some time. I was very happy,” she told New Era yesterday at parliament.
“I have been saying that the economic situation we were in called for a voice of a leader to come out and tell the nation what to do in terms of running behind certain programmes to get us out of the troubles we are in, which is to tighten our belts and work hard. And that kind of voice I missed it, and today I got it.”
PDM president McHenry Venaani did not entirely welcome Geingob’s SONA.
“The President came to this house with new plans. He cannot be an architect of plans. He already created a plan called Harambee Prosperity Plan. Realising that it’s not working midway, now he has new plans on how he wants to finance modernisation of agriculture,” he reacted.
However, he praised the President for being precise on the second land conference which will finally be held in the first week of October after it has been postponed due to lack of proper public consultation.
Further, he said Geingob failed to address the housing crisis where many Namibians find themselves unable to afford a roof over their head due to exorbitant market prices.
“The President did not address how he wants to bring down housing prices. And how he wants to make sure banks are not over-profiteering with their mortgage rates. Those are some of the lapses. In terms of jobs, Harambee said they will create 10,000 new jobs. Harambee did not create a single job. And he agreed with me that they did not create new jobs but have instead lost jobs,” Venaani noted. Venaani said Geingob failed to review his promises he delivered during last year’s SONA.
Therefore, he said, PDM will dissect the reality on the ground which is that 85 percent of people aged between 21 to 35 years are unemployed in the country.
He challenged government to create a N$30 million factory to have government number plates manufactured in Namibia instead of creating jobs in South Africa where they are currently being made.
Equally, he said, the government should establish a mending factory to mend “our coins in Namibia to create local jobs instead of in South Africa”.
Swanu leader Usutuaije Maamberua said the SONA was interesting and detailed. However, he said his party is to study and analyse the statement.
“I am not interested in reactions to the statement as we stand the risk of losing the crux of the matter. That’s why I am proposing to meet the President. He was happy when I made the proposal. He was nodding and he was enjoying himself,” he said.