PRIME minster and Swapo vice president candidate Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the state is considering using private sector savings of Namibians from local banks, investment and insurance companies to enable funding for traditional authorities and projects across the country.
She said this on Thursday during a meeting with traditional authorities at Keetmanshoop.
“This money can be utilised to fund development projects in our communities, which are in dire need of services, including the needs of traditional authorities,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
This comes after she also told the media in October that “while we may not have a lot of money in government coffers, Namibia has massive savings in local insurance companies, pension funds and even commercial banks”.
“Through public-private partnerships (PPPs), we can actually direct these funds into the Namibian economy so that we improve services to the Namibian people, revive the economy and boost the construction industry,” she told Namibian Sun at the time.
Popular Democratic Movement secretary Manuel Ngaringombe yesterday said using pension funds, and savings in insurance companies and banks, is daylight robbery.
Ngaringombe said this anticipated practice by the government should be condemned in the strongest terms by all Namibians.
“Even if it is through PPP, these are the savings of individual persons who invested that money for a rainy day, be it pension, life savings or when a person gets laid off.”
“But this government has already mismanaged this economy and the finances of this country generated through taxes, etc. They must just inform us if the country is bankrupt, so we go back to the drawing board,” said Ngaringombe.
The prime minister during the meeting last week said the government is initiating multiple interventions to strengthen traditional authorities.
This includes providing resources and reviewing acts, such as the Resettlement Act and the land bill.
Besides their monthly allowances and vehicles, traditional authorities do not receive a capital budget from the government, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.
She said both the Resettlement Act and land bill are necessitated to include resolutions taken during the second land conference held in 2018.
Traditional leaders are entrusted with the allocation of communal land and the formulation of traditional groups’ customary laws.
They also take over judicial work through traditional courts, offering a way to access compensation through civil law that does not require fees or lawyers, the prime minister added.
In February this year, The Namibian reported that the government has managed to implement only 29 of the 167 resolutions taken at the N$15 million-dollar land conference.
“In line with this, the Cabinet has approved the drafting of a bill to establish a body that will administrate ancestral land claims, and has agreed for a high-level committee to be established to monitor the implementation of these interventions. This bill is expected to be tabled in parliament early next year,” the prime minister said.
President Hage Geingob ordered the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the claims of ancestral land rights and restitution in February 2019 to draft a framework on the ancestral land rights question by the end of 2019.
Speaking at the same occasion, //Kharas governor Aletha Frederick cautioned traditional leaders to guard against leadership squabbles.
“The infights in traditional authorities are counterproductive to development as they impede efforts to address the livelihood needs of communities,” she said.
Meanwhile, former Swapo //Kharas governor Lucia Basson has come out guns blazing against Kuugongelwa-Amadhila for blaming the Landless Peoples’ Movement(LPM)-led //Kharas Regional Council for poor service delivery in the region.
Basson on Friday told The Namibian she invited the prime minister countless times during her 10-year tenure to address the incomplete projects in the region, but the prime minister never honoured these invitations.
She said on another occasion, a directive was given to provide so-called struggle kids with entry-level jobs, to which the prime minister was invited, “but to no avail”.
“Therefore I’m surprised that the prime minister is campaigning in the //Kharas region under falsehoods. I would have just embarrased her if I was there.
“Because even the promises she is making, she will never fulfil,” the former governor said.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila did not respond to phone calls and messages asking for comment.
LPM chairperson of the Keetmanshoop municipality management committee Ester Isak says the lack of service delivery in the //Kharas region is due to a lack of political will among the central government.
“Even companies like Namdeb and Skorpion Zinc have never ploughed back considerably into the region . . . But the central government, to which royalties and taxes are paid, do not take those companies to task to address the needs of the people . . ,” Isak says.
She says another concern is the slow pace of decentralisation that leads to ministries which are not decentralised opting to not account to local authorities or the regional council through progress updates.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on Monday during a meeting with the //Kharas regional leadership at Keetmanshoop said service delivery and development are stagnating in regions led by the LPM due to infighting.
“Most of the developmental challenges experienced in the region can be solved if leaders spoke to one another . . ,” she said.
The prime minister’s remarks stemmed from an update on capital projects provided by the //Kharas Regional Council in a meeting with the prime minister last week at Keetmanshoop by development planner Ralph Satchika.
“These projects were abandoned mostly due to a lack of funding. Others came to a standstill due to legal battles that have ensued between the government and contractors and others because of unresolved matters within ministries,” Satchika said.
‘THEY DON’T CARE’
Meanwhile, Ngaringombe says some Swapo leaders who are campaigning to be the future president of Namibia are old and will die before 2030.
Ngaringombe was speaking at a PDM event held at Oshakati on Saturday.
“Some of them are sure they will not reach 2030, and they don’t care about us,” he said.
Ngaringombe said young people stand in queues to vote for people they know do not have a vision and a future in 2030 or 2060.
Swapo leaders contesting to be the vice president of the party are current party vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah (70), prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (55), and minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta (54).
Whoever is elected as vice president will be Swapo’s presidential candidate in 2024, and by implication has a chance to become head of state in 2025.
However, Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday said only God knows how long one would live.
“If he plans to end some people’s lives, let it be,” she said.
Ngaringombe on Saturday said: “It’s time to change and vote for young people who still have a future.”