PRESIDENT Hage Geingob used the occasion of the official opening session of cabinet 2021 that was held this morning at State House to reiterate that Namibia is not a corrupt society.
“I have stated on several occasions that I believe that corruption is not systemic in Namibia, but perceptions have been created that Namibia is a corrupt society. Although corruption is not systemic in Namibia, we recognise that some corrupt officials have tainted the name of our country,” said Geingob while chairing the opening session.
Geingob, who is known for theming each year that he is in office, christened the year 2021 as “The Year of Resilience.”
He touched on the sensitive subject of corruption, which has been on everyone’s lips following the Fishrot corruption case which implicated numerous officials and the ruling Swapo party.
In his statement, Geingob referenced the Afro barometer survey released on 26 January 2021, which reveals that out of 18 African countries surveyed, Namibia and Cabo Verde emerged as the top two countries where citizens don’t have to pay a bribe to access public services.
The study, he noted, indicates that corruption in the country is not systematic.
Regarding allegations that his administrative benefited from the Fishrot scandal, Geingob reiterated that the case concerned has now reached a sensitive stage, but that the Prosecutor-General has taken a decision and the case will soon proceed to trial.
“I will not seek to jeopardise or influence the administration of justice through public statements induced by the media. When trial-related rules and ethics allow and at an appropriate time, I will extensively address the unfortunate insinuations, conjecture and mischievous interpretations, with a view to demonstrate their falsity,” Geingob stated.
The President further noted that over the course of a challenging six-year period, the Swapo administration successfully staved off the negative effects brought about by a global economic downturn and an extended period of severe periods of drought.
“Having adopted a policy of fiscal consolidation while deploying economic intervention measures aimed at stimulating the economy, we were optimistic about rebounding, but alas, the arrival of COVID-19 put all of our plans into disarray. We are aware that we are faced with a difficult balancing act; protecting Namibian lives while at the same time, ensuring our economy is not compromised. It is a precarious situation and one that can only be overcome through ingenuity, collaboration and hard work,” Geingob stated.
In-line with the year’s theme of resilience, Geingob further noted that living under the scourge of COVID-19 has not been easy and the effects of the virus have been unforgiving.
As a People, as a nation, however, said Geingob. while we have lost much, we have also gained new strength and resilience.
He further advised ministers not to delay the implementation of crucial projects through procrastination and indecision.
“I am aware that the aversion towards taking decisive action on the implementation of projects could stem from the fear of being perceived as corrupt, but I have always said that if one is not corrupt, then you have nothing to hide or fear. Do your job with clear conscience and to the best of your ability,” Geingob said.