Being bold and dreaming big

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Southern Times Writer

Windhoek - President Hage Geingob’s first term in office has not been a stroll in the park.

Challenges such as unemployment and a shrinking economy on one hand, and a measure of infighting in the ruling SWAPO Party, have meant that he has had to be both hands-on and innovative in taking the nation forward.

One of those innovations has been the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), which President Geingob has referred time and again as the concept of the “Namibia House”.

Right from his inauguration on March 21, 2015, President Geingob declared all-out war against poverty, income and wealth inequalities, and corruption as he strives to achieve inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

The noble goal of eradicating poverty was perceived by some to be too ambitious. 

President Geingob, however, said the country must dream big and be bold in the pursuit of its lofty ideals.

Considering the significant inroads made in poverty reduction since independence, President Geingob remains confident that with sufficient resources and concerted effort, Namibia can become a more equal society.

To this end, by the end of his first term, President Geingob noted that the Harambee Prosperity Plan had recorded an average 70 percent overall execution rate on set goals and outcomes.

This has been calculated against the implementation outcomes of activities per pillar. 

“Despite a number of independent intervening variables that adversely affected our ability to obtain the set target of an 80 percent execution rate, we achieved this relatively high rate by focusing on key deliverables with lesser financial implications,” he said. 

Another area in which the president has made significant headway is in combatting the vice of corruption in the public sector.

This includes the decision to cancel awarding of the Hosea Kutako International Airport upgrading tender, which had been unjustifiably more than doubled from N$3 billion to N$7 billion.

That decision was challenged in the High Court and while the government lost that first round, the appeal to the Supreme Court was successful.

The administration also launched investigations into alleged irregularities in the contracts for the National Oil Storage Facility and Neckartal Dam, which had exposed the government to currency fluctuations.

The investigations resulted in disciplinary hearings that resulted in some of the implicated officials being cleared, while others received appropriate sanctions.

The government, through the Ministry of Finance also launched lifestyle audits and investigations into tax evasion and money laundering.

Charges brought against individuals ended up before the Courts.

Ongoing cases of alleged corruption such as the SME Bank, Offshore Development Company and the Development Capital Portfolio of the GIPF and the KORA Music Awards are all at the courts.

“We will only prevail in the war against corruption when transparency is nurtured within governance systems. Each and every Namibian has a role to play in uprooting corruption.

“I caution that we should protect the dignity of fellow citizens by guarding against accusations of corruption in the absence of evidence. In the fight against corruption, the due process of law must prevail,” President Geingob has said of the anti-corruption fight.

During President Geingob’s first term, Namibia increased its ranking on the Ibrahim Index, which measures governance across the African continent. The result was that Namibia was rated among the top five best-governed countries in Africa.

Namibia is rated 4th on the continent, behind only Mauritius, the Seychelles and Cabo Verde; while immediately behind it are Botswana, Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa. 

These huge strides forward in governance are attributable to President Geingob’s introduction of the Public Performance Management System, legislative reforms to strengthen accountability and transparency, as well as the aforementioned action being taken on corruption. 

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