AS 2020, that was designated the year of introspection, comes to an end, members of Cabinet have been requested to reflect and introspect on their responsibility to combat the vices of division, tribalism, regionalism, racism and corruption.
President Hage Geingob addressed the final Cabinet meeting of the year and said the vices undermine peaceful co-existence and stunt the development of the nation.
“They do not have a place in the inclusive Namibian House we are trying to nurture. Therefore, you should be exemplary, and exhibit the highest ethos of being model citizens, and not be found wanting on the values of inclusivity, patriotism, and solidarity towards your fellow citizens,” Geingob said.
The President said the Cabinet faces a huge task in the New Year and said that the recent results of the Regional Council and Local Authority elections should be one of the points members ponder over the period of rest.
Dr. Geingob also announced the launch of the second Harambee Prosperity Plan that will focus almost exclusively on a strong Economic Recovery Programme during February 2021.
“We must revive the economy. We must create jobs for our young people in the critical sectors, which include the present-day Green and Blue Economies. We must deliver better services to our people. These are vital undertakings,” he said.
He said the success of the plan depends on the ability of members to work harder and smarter in unison and not in silos.
The President’s full address at the final Cabinet meeting of the year reads as follows:
I welcome you to the last Cabinet meeting for this calendar year. The year 2020 was an odd one for all of humanity. Following my swearing-in as Head of State on March 21, 2020, for a second and final term as President, I recall how I welcomed you to the inaugural Cabinet meeting of the 7th Government.
However, while we expected to hit the ground running in our noble endeavour of serving the Namibian people better, a few days later, we were disturbed by an unwelcome visitor, in the form of COVID-19.
The virus was already on our shores from March 13, 2020, and forced us to readjust the carefully laid-out developmental plans, we had set for ourselves.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that COVID-19 has thrown us off-balance as a country. Jobs have been lost; a number of businesses have reduced their capacities or have closed down completely, leading to the suffering of our people.
With socio-economic activity slowing down, the optimistic economic prospects we had anticipated for the year 2020 and beyond have been placed in jeopardy.
However, measuring the difficulties we have encountered as occasioned by COVID- 19, I have to say with humility that as a Cabinet charged with the affairs of the State, we have done remarkably well. In our fight against the formidable enemy of COVID- 19, which caused the deaths of 150 Namibians, we are way below the 4000 COVID-19 related deaths, which the World Health Organization, had predicted. We have also been able to limit the envisaged severity of a negative knock-on impact on our economy, through a timely rollout of an economic stimulus package of 8.1 Billion Namibian Dollars.
Moreover, our innovative COVID-19 Communication Centre has enabled Government to transparently and timeously share information with the general population.
The international community as well as Namibians are lauding these initiatives. However, let us not become complacent. We are not yet out of the woods and should remain vigilant.
During this unusual year of COVID-19, the effective implementation of the task that Namibians had bestowed upon me, would not have been possible without the expert assistance of the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet.
I would fail in my duty if I did not single out our Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, our frontline health-workers and nurses, doctors, first- responders and uniformed personnel, who carried a particular weight of responsibility on their shoulders by ensuring that our nation stays safe and healthy. To all of you, I say a big thank you.
A big task lies ahead for the Cabinet in the New Year.
As we have all witnessed with the results of the recent Regional and Local Authority elections, our citizens have spoken and made their democratic choice. As democrats, we have heard the voices of our people.
In this regard, I would like to thank all Namibians for the peaceful and orderly manner in which they have conducted themselves during the campaigns leading up to the elections, and afterwards. Ultimately, democracy and the people of Namibia are the winners.
As the highest decision making institution at the apex of Government, we have to be adequately prepared for the journey ahead, to deliver in all earnest improved services to all Namibians. In that vein, in 48 hours, Cabinet will be on retreat for two days.
The plan was to have this retreat immediately after members of Cabinet had been sworn-in during March 2020, with the objective of familiarising new Cabinet members with the Cabinet Handbook and the ethos of collective decision-making. There is a saying that it is never too late to do the right thing. Thus, this retreat will provide Cabinet with the opportunity to prepare better for the year 2021 and beyond.
Let me remind you that as stated in the Cabinet Handbook, the success in administering and executing the functions of Government depends on the work of the Cabinet and the support staff. With this in mind, I trust that as we enter the New Year, you, together with your Ministerial staff, will be able to deliver on the actions outlined in the second Harambee Prosperity Plan. In this regard, I wish to announce that the launch of the second Harambee Prosperity Plan, with a strong Economic Recovery Programme, will take place during February 2021.
We must revive the economy. We must create jobs for our young people in the critical sectors, which include the present-day Green and Blue Economies. We must deliver better services to our people. These are vital undertakings. Our success depends on our ability to work harder and smarter in unison and not in silos.
Peace, Stability and Rule of Law are conditions sine qua non for development to take place. A safe and peaceful environment is central to our development and survival as a country. Therefore, I once again reiterate and extend my deepest sympathies to the Nchindo and Munyeme families on their tragic loss of beloved sons and brothers who brutally died at the hands of the trigger happy Botswana Defence Force.
I have just received the joint investigation carried out by the Governments of Namibia and Botswana and after thorough study, its findings will be shared with the Namibian nation.
I thank our esteemed Traditional Leaders from the Zambezi Region for the support they have given Government during this trying period.
Before closing, I want to leave you with food for thought, for you to reflect on and over to introspect on during the holiday period. As members of Cabinet, you have a bigger responsibility to fight against the vices of division, tribalism, regionalism, racism and corruption.
These vices undermine peaceful co-existence and stunt our development as a nation. They do not have a place in the inclusive Namibian House we are trying to nurture.
Therefore, you should be exemplary, and exhibit the highest ethos of being model citizens, and not be found wanting on the values of inclusivity, patriotism, and solidarity towards your fellow citizens.
With these remarks, I wish you and your families’ good health, strength, a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year!
Picture: Courtesy of the Namibian Presidency