Official Statements & Announcements
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Tel.: (061) 2829111 Private Bag 13347 Telegram:MINFORA WINDHOEK
Fax: (061) 223937/221145/220265
Enquiries: B. Amakali
10 August 2018
38th SADC SUMMIT
SAFARI COURT HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTRE
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR SELMA ASHIPALA-MUSAVYI, PERMANENT SECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Chief Director for SADC in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, representing the outgoing Chair of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials, Mr. Sandile Schalk
Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax
Heads of Delegation of Senior Officials
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Deputy Executive Secretaries
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and honor for me as Chair of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials to welcome you all, dear colleagues, to Namibia and to Windhoek in particular. Please do feel at home and have a wonderful stay here in our capital city Windhoek.
It is here where the Southern African Development Community was birthed and here we have returned, to gauge not only it’s growth and progression, but more importantly, how SADC has continued to meaningfully touch the lives of our people.
It is not easy to fill your shoes as outgoing Chair. But with his assistance and the collective support of all of you colleagues, I trust that I will be able to steer the work of this Committee and that together we shall continue to elevate our deliberations to high levels of expectation and intended results.
Therefore, on behalf of the Senior Officials, and indeed on my own, I wish to express our utmost appreciation to the outgoing Chair, for the effective manner in which he has steered our work during your tenure as Chair of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials. I look forward continue working with him and benefit from his advice, going forward.
As a member state, Namibia feels honored and privileged to be assuming the Chairmanship of our Organization, who’s objectives are to achieve development and economic growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration. These are socio – economic challenges that we are all grappling with and aspirations for which we collectively continue to strive.
It is for this reason that, since 2015, our leaders have decided to accentuate the industrialization of the SADC Region. We have set ourselves targets through various enablers, particularly the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), of which implementation has partly been realized through the choice of themes for the Summits, and subsequent operationalization.
In choosing the theme of the 38th SADC Summit: “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”, we have carefully aligned it to the preceding themes on industrialization. The theme illustrates that infrastructure development and youth empowerment go hand in hand, and are vital in driving SADC towards industrialization. The theme also speaks to the socio – economic realities of our continent, in the spirit of “The Africa We Want”, as outlined in the AU Agenda 2063, and reflect the general concerns of the Global South as entailed in the UN Agenda 2030.
We therefore have an ample opportunity and should critically look back to the progress we have made so far in implementing SADC Programmes. I am pleased to state that there have been notable progress in many sectors, especially infrastructural connectivity, economic development and trade, as well as in ensuring that peace and security prevails in the region.
However, you might also agree with me that more still needs to be done, in order to achieve our objectives, and therein lies our collective responsibilities. It is crucial that our Organisation implements programmes and strategies that we have commonly adopted, for the benefit of all our people and ensure that they have a better life and a brighter future.
The issues contained in the Agenda before us are pertinent to sustained economic growth and sustainable development in the region. Equally, others are about ensuring that our region remains stable and peaceful. We should continue to find lasting solutions to ensure that peace and security prevails in our region, for without peace there would be no regional integration for development.
In conclusion, let me express my deep gratitude and humility for the honor you have bestowed upon me as your Chair, and to wish this meeting fruitful and successful deliberations.
I thank you.
To download speech click here
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE GEINGOB, PRESIDENT OF
THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 28th INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION
MARCH 21, 2018
ACCOMPLISHING THE TASK OF UNITY AND SHARED PROSPERITY
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE G. GEINGOB,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
AT THE NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Comrade Nangolo Mbumba, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia and Madame Mbumba;
Right Honorable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia and Mr. Amadhila;
Honorable Professor Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly and Madame Katjavivi;
Honorable Margret Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council and Mr. Williams;
Your Lordship Peter Shivute, Chief Justice and Ms. Shivute;
Madame Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia;
Honorable Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Your Excellency, Anastas Kaboba Kasongo Wakimba, Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Honorable Sophia Shaningwa, Secretary General of the SWAPO Party;
Honorable McHenry Venaani, Leader of the Official Opposition;
Members of Parliament;
Honorable Laura Mcleod-Katjirua, Governor of the Khomas Region;
Your Worship Muesee Kazapua, Mayor of the City of Windhoek;
Special Invited Guests;
Senior Government Officials;
Members of the Media
Madam Monica and I are honored to welcome you all this evening to State House. The New Year is a time for fresh beginnings. It is a time to reset and reapply our minds individually and collectively in order to face the challenges that the year will bring. We reunite with old friends and welcome new ones. In that vein, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of International Organizations recently accredited to Namibia. We are delighted to have you here, and we are keen to ensure that your stay in Namibia will go down as one of the significant and memorable milestones in your respective careers.
We have declared 2018 as the Year of Reckoning. We endeavour to achieve higher levels of service delivery for the Namibian people. There will be consequences for those who fail to deliver acceptable standards of public service and professionalism. It is why we would like to work better with you this year, to tackle issues of corruption, price manipulation and other forms of greed. Corruption, or the perception thereof, carries negative consequences that thwart socio-economic development of our people. We have to counteract these negative perceptions by striving for excellence in everything we do.
We have identified poverty and corruption as the primary impediments to the noble ideal of an inclusive society. In less than a month, I will be marking my third year in office as President. I remain more committed than ever before to the establishment of a more egalitarian society within Namibia. There is no US Dollar billionaire in Namibia, white or black; except for a few companies. The promise of shared prosperity can become a reality if our society is participatory and inclusive.
It is in this context that we would like to join our international friends and partners to tackle problems of inequality in a determined, sincere and forthright manner. We cannot turn a blind eye towards the blatant but sad reality of inequality within our society. Inequality is to a country what hypertension is to the human body. It is a ticking time bomb which one can either decide to tackle upfront or ignore at one’s own peril.
Namibia has been praised for its robust Governance Architecture. We have put in place processes, systems, and institutions that help to buttress our democracy. Furthermore, we have always espoused the principles of effective governance and the rule of law. However, we must draw from the analogy of untreated hypertension undermining the functioning of the body’s internal organs. Unchecked inequality weakens the functioning of our processes, systems and institutions. Let us therefore hold hands and show utmost sincerity and urgency in dealing with the thorny issue of inequality.
Director of ceremonies,
As we are all aware, tough economic conditions prevail in many countries, including Namibia. For 2018, the World Bank forecasts that the “global economic outlook is still subject to substantial downside risks, including the possibility of financial stress, increased protectionism, and rising geopolitical tensions.” These independent intervening variables or countervailing forces have had an adverse effect on our ability to execute developmental projects at the desired rate. Government has implemented various cost-cutting measures to curb public expenditure and reduce waste. In these challenging times, fiscal discipline is tantamount to ensuring that we remain on track to achieve sustainable development and shared prosperity in the long run.
I would like to state that our commitment to democratic values, respect for human dignity, inclusivity and sustainable development will continue to shape Namibia’s external actions. Namibia strongly believes that bilateral and multilateral dialogue remain key to easing rising geo-political tensions. Sustained efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to global challenges will bring peace and stability among nations. On the premise of the New Africa that we champion, we will continue to play an active role in the maintenance of peace and security through the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations. We will share the concept of the Namibian House, first with our brothers and sisters in Africa – where all Africans should hold hands within the structure of the AU House, and second within the community of nations, where citizens of the world, united in their diversity must hold hands through UN Charter as the eminent structure of the UN House. It is only through unity that we will be able to create and maintain lasting peace and harmony. This thought is captured by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which highlights, among other things, that we should foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence because there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
Director of ceremonies,
DaShanne Stokes once said, “Urging an organization to be inclusive is not an attack. It is progress.” Let us therefore make the year 2018 a memorable one – by calling for greater inclusivity across the board, here at home in Namibia, in Africa, and at the United Nations. Our call for inclusivity in the AU does not constitute attack, but a demand for progress. By demanding for inclusivity in the UN, we are not attacking it, but merely seeking progress. Humanity will progress only if we all hold hands and pull in one direction. Let us therefore make the fight against inequality, the promotion of unity and inclusive societies’ top priorities in 2018.
In conclusion I wish you and your families, good health and success for the year ahead. May you all excel in your assignments as accredited representatives of your respective countries and international organizations. We are ready to continue engaging with you at different levels of our Government.
Please convey Namibia’s best wishes for the New Year to your respective Majesties and Excellencies.
I thank you.
His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob
President of the Republic of Namibia and the SWAPO Party
at the opening of the
6th Elective Congress of the SWAPO Party
November 23, 2017
Comrade Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, Founding President of the SWAPO Party and Father of the Namibian Nation;
Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, Former President of the SWAPO Party and the Republic of Namibia;
Comrade Nangolo Mbumba, Secretary General of the SWAPO Party;
Comrade Laura Mcleod-Katjirua, Deputy Secretary General of the SWAPO Party;
Members of the Politburo and Central Committee of the SWAPO Party;
Comrades, Delegates to the 6th Congress;
Comrades, Veterans of our Liberation Struggle;
Distinguished Special Invited Delegates;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the Media;
Comrades and friends;
It is an honour for me to mark the opening of this 6th Elective Congress of the SWAPO Party. We thank our Founding Father Comrade Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, who opened the doors of this house and ushered us in, and protected us with the shields of peace and unity. We thank our Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, our second President for giving us stability in this house by consolidating the foundations established by Comrade Nujoma. We thank our esteemed Veterans of the Liberation Struggle for their blood, sweat and tears. We thank those comrades and stalwarts who are not with us today, having paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives to the cause. Their blood continues to water our freedom. Let us uphold their collective values, let us emulate the selflessness of those before us and let us ensure that SWAPO always remains on the right side of history.
Let me welcome all of you, comrade delegates, and thank you for your commitment to our beloved Party. You have left your homes, families and livelihoods in order to dedicate these next few days to your Party, the mighty SWAPO Party.
This is a momentous occasion. We are on the cusp of determining our destiny. The time is now for us to ensure that the legacy of our liberation struggle, the legacy of the Namibian Revolution and the legacy of the Mighty SWAPO Party shall continue.
It is no secret that we currently find ourselves in tumultuous times. The geo-political climate is in a state of flux, the global economy is at cross roads, structural inequality is manifesting itself in the most heartbreaking ways and the future is fraught with uncertainty. All these are contributing factors to the tension which has engulfed many of our liberation movements in Africa. Some would say that these factors have created the perfect storm. A storm we have not seen since the days of the liberation struggle and which tempts us to think things have changed. Change is a constant so yes, things have changed but the SWAPO party’s values remain the same. I am reminded by the words of the great leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh who once said, “Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.” Now – more than ever – in the midst of these challenging times, the mighty SWAPO Party must show the doubters, the naysayers and the doom mongers that SWAPO REMAINS STRONG, SWAPO REMAINS UNITED and SWAPO REMAINS STABLE.
Since its inception, SWAPO has been a party forthright and honest in its aims and objectives. SWAPO is not a personality cult, it is not an exclusive club, it is not a shortcut to personal wealth or power. SWAPO is a movement of the people. It is bigger than any individual, and when the day comes that we are no longer here, SWAPO will remain standing. The exercise of internal party democracy is a strength, not a weakness and we should never allow our stable succession practices and our democratic nature to become a weakness.
We profess to stand on the strong foundations of democracy, unity, peace, stability and the rule of law. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Unity, to be real, must stand the severest strain without breaking.” This is our time to prove to ourselves, our adversaries, to the region and the whole world that SWAPO Party unity will stand the severest strain without breaking.
Since the onset of our independence, SWAPO has worked tirelessly to buttress our democracy by adopting a modern approach to Governance. Over the years, we have established robust processes, systems and institutions, which are gradually and systemically strengthened. This approach is also part and parcel of what we refer to as the ‘New Africa’, an Africa that is characterized by clear, fair and transparent Processes; Systems that are working and Institutions that are above reproach. These three elements, which I refer to as the ‘Trinity’, are essential to buttressing our democracy and effective governance.
SWAPO continues to promote effective governance and to execute its mandate on the basis of accountability, transparency, honesty and commitment. Therefore one of my personal beliefs is that Transparency plus Accountability equals to improved levels of Trust. The drive to enhance trust levels, therefore, forms the cornerstone of this Administration’s implementation strategy of the SWAPO Election Manifesto.
Not only did SWAPO lay sound democratic Governance Architecture, the party also established solid macroeconomic architecture. The historical, systemic exclusion of black Namibians created the socio-economic deficits that persist against the conventional anti-poverty strategies that we have employed over the 27 years. That is why this Administration has declared a full-scale war against poverty, inequality and corruption. We recognize that the only sustained growth will be shared growth. We need inclusive growth that will translate into the creation of decent job opportunities for our citizens. This is what Comrade Nujoma termed to be the second phase of the struggle; for Namibia’s full economic emancipation.
Safeguarding our economic sovereignty has always been and remains a central tenet of SWAPO’s economic policy. We were fortunate to have witnessed the devastating effects caused by Structural Adjustment Programmes in many African countries. It is for this reason that Comrades Nujoma, Pohamba and I decided that Namibia would never go to the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank for a bailout. The only way to maintain our economic sovereignty therefore, would be continuing the prudent management of our Fiscus by ensuring that every single cent of taxpayers’ money is spent in an accountable and effective manner.
Even during the current economic downturn, where debt was permitted to exceed our self-imposed ceiling, Namibia’s debt, as a ratio to GDP at 42 percent remains lower than the SADC benchmark of 60 percent. In addition to this, the Namibian economy continues to be vibrant with economic growth projected to pick up in line with the global economic recovery. Our external position at 5 month of import coverage is strong; price pressure are well contained; there is ample liquidity and subscriptions to Government bonds have been well received, showing that Namibia remains credit worthy.
Going forward, we will ensure the economy is managed in a responsible manner, by remaining far from IMF bailouts and ensuring the limited resources we have at our disposal, are spent in an inclusive, pro-poor and pro-growth manner.
SWAPO subscribes to the ideology of social justice, equity and solidarity. One key belief is that development must be people centered. Development that does not impact the lives of the Namibian people in a transformational manner, is meaningless.
When considering the initial adverse conditions and deep social disparities Namibia inherited at Independence, significant progress has been made to date. To be clear, we are not pleased when one Namibian lives in poverty. We are not pleased when one mother dies during the birth process. We are not pleased when one child dies due to malnutrition and we are certainly not pleased when one child is not in school.
Government has therefore taken the following measures to ensure the status quo improves. At Independence, the poverty rate was 70 percent and in some regions as high as 90 percent. This means that 7 out of every 10 Namibians, out of a population of 1.5 million at the time, were considered to be poor. This figure has since declined from 70 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2016. The region with the highest poverty rate, Ohangwena has declined from 90 percent to 30 percent during the same period. What this means is that hundreds of thousands of Namibians have been lifted out of poverty.
Considering the case of social safety nets. At Independence the predominant social safety net was the Old Age Social Grant. The benefit of this safety net was heavily biased towards whites, both in terms of coverage and amount. Almost all white Namibians, who qualified were covered and received higher monthly payouts, while only a limited number of black Namibians received the Old Age Social Grant, at a fraction of the value granted to white Namibians. We took the drastic decision to equalize these Old Age Social Grants for all senior citizens, irrespective of race and to focus on expanding coverage. To date, the coverage of this important social safety net stands above 90 percent and with a little more effort, we will soon attain 100 percent coverage. Moreover, we took another drastic decision over the last two fiscal years to increase the value; having doubled from N$600 per month to N$1,200 per month. This grant is truly transformational in nature, as it not only benefits the elderly but helps to arrest childhood poverty and provides the rural communities, especially, with microeconomic stimulus.
There are several other social grants, over and above the Old Age Social Grant, such as those advanced to veterans of the liberation struggle, foster care grant and grant to orphans and vulnerable children and the school feeding programme. In total 16 percent of the Namibian population directly or indirectly benefit from these grants and for this current year (2017/18) N$6.8 billion or 10 percent of the total budget has been devoted to social grants. This demonstrates the commitment of the SWAPO Government to fulfill the needs of the underprivileged and vulnerable members of our society, towards the total upliftment of all Namibians.
Considering hunger poverty. It was estimated that in 2016, 4.9 percent of the population was living in hunger poverty, in other words, did not have enough food to eat on a daily basis. The hunger in urban and peri-urban areas triggered the idea of food banks, which was incorporated into the Harambee Prosperity Plan. In June 2016, the first food bank was opened in Katutura and by the end of Year One of HPP implementation, close to 100 thousand Namibians had become beneficiaries of the much-needed food on a monthly basis. We believe that this action alone will make a dent in the percentage of people living in urban hunger poverty. However, we have acknowledged on numerous occasions that the food bank in itself is not the panacea to eradicating hunger poverty and is a small part of a multi-faceted approach to arrest hunger poverty. The food-bank is specifically targeting for peri-urban environments and different strategies are envisaged for rural areas. All these strategies are in documents which are readily available and which we encourage our members to familiarize themselves with. The other dimensions of poverty that we are addressing are housing and sanitation, access to quality education, access to quality health care, improved physical infrastructure, including rural areas and job creation. These interventions were derived after extensive community consultation.
As alluded to before, almost a quarter of the total budget annually is allocated towards education. In relative terms this is among the highest in the world and second to none in Sub-Saharan Africa. We can see the results. Enrollment rates have significantly increased since independence. Access to education has dramatically improved since independence. No child who wants to be at school will be turned away and we are doing everything in our power to increase enrolment and reduce dropout rates. Now that the goals for education access and gender equity have been achieved, our focus is on quality and the promotion of vocational education as outlined in the HPP. Results in the First Year of HPP implementation are encouraging. Where the target was to enroll 18,000 learners into TVET, a total of 25,000 were actually enrolled. This indicates that young people are embracing vocational education and view it to be a viable education stream.
Quality education and expansion of the productive structure of the economy will be key. Training and development for our young people to become employable will continue. At the same time the productive structure of the economy must expand to be able to accommodate young people after graduation. Failure to reduce unemployment would further complicate our peace and stability.
Over the period of six decades, SWAPO has succeeded to create and entrench a legacy of Peace, Stability and Prosperity. We are now full swing into the second phase of the struggle, to achieve full economic emancipation for all Namibians.
The world as we knew it has changed. It is therefore pertinent that SWAPO adapts to deal with the contemporary challenges, in order to remain at the forefront of fighting for social justice. There are those who claim that SWAPO has changed and it is no longer the party they used to know. For those I have the following to say: SWAPO has not changed. The World has changed and in order not to be left behind, we have to change with the times, while retaining our core values. SWAPO remains true to the pursuit of its fundamental ideals for social justice and liberty, in all its forms. SWAPO is here to stay and it is here to stay, for a very long time. Our youth are important torchbearers in this journey as they better understand the technological and social changes that our society is faced with and we must listen to them. We must listen to the workers, we must listen to women. We must listen to each other and after dialogue, we must act. That is our commitment. To listen, engage and to act.
Today, SWAPO and Namibia are faced with different challenges and different adversaries from the ones we faced during the days of the liberation struggle. These “modern day” challenges include poverty, corruption, unemployment and high income and wealth disparities. Therefore, under SWAPO, we will remain steadfast to overcome these challenges as a united and collective front.
Let us adhere to our SWAPO rules and principles during these elections. Let us play the ball and not the player. Furthermore, in the spirit of SWAPO Party unity, once the contest is over and the winners have been announced, let us all rally behind the victors, because it is not personalities that matter, it is principles that matter.
We say that between SWAPO and other political parties, there may be “war” during an elective process. However, within SWAPO there must be competition; healthy competition, that will result in a stronger more resilient SWAPO. As we prepare to commence this landmark 6th SWAPO Party Elective Congress, a Congress that will shape the destiny of SWAPO and Namibia, I ask that we ponder the words of Commandante Fidel Castro who said, “None of us has any personal interest above the interests of the country. Our country is more important than our careers.” Let us bury our personal interest and hold aloft the interests of SWAPO. Let us not pursue the growth of our careers but pursue the growth of Namibia.
Let us hold hands and move on towards a prosperous future for our beloved, mighty SWAPO Party and Namibia, our motherland.
Long live the SWAPO Party,
NOW, Hard Work!
I thank you.
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. HAGE G. GEINGOB, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA AT THE 72ND SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 NEW YORK
Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd
Session of the UN General Assembly,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and
Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of
the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Mr. President, yesterday you made a profound statement in saying,
“The UN was created for people. Its job is to help people who are striving for peace and a decent life, on a sustainable planet”.
Namibia congratulates you on your election as
President of the 72nd Session of this Assembly. We pledge our full support to advancing a people-centered approach to doing business in the United Nations. We also commend His
Excellency Peter Thomson, for his excellent stewardship during his tenure as President of the General Assembly.
Your Excellency Secretary General, Yesterday, you stressed your commitment towards global unity and multilateralism by saying,
“We call ourselves the international community. We must act as one, because only together, as United Nations, can we fulfill the promise of the Charter and advance human dignity for all”.
As the people of Namibia, we will do everything within our capabilities to support your noble cause during your tenure as Secretary General of this organization.
We also congratulate Madam Amina
Mohamed, a daughter of Africa, for her well-deserved appointment as Deputy Secretary General. Let us also not forget His Excellency Ban Ki Moon, for the sterling job he did during his tenure as Secretary General.
Development that is not driven by the people and does not translate in improved living conditions for all people is a meaningless development. Moreover, development that does not reach all people in an equitable manner will only undermine the peace and stability necessary for sustainable development. Growing income disparities,
between nations and within nations, poses the greatest threat for peace within countries and globally.
In Namibia, we overcame the inhumane scourge of colonial oppression and racial segregation. Through a deliberate policy of reconciliation, we succeeded in entrenching peace, security and stability as the pillars of our democracy. We also made significant progress in reducing absolute and relative poverty during the past 27 years. Poverty has declined from a high of 70 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2015. This was in part due to the introduction of a wide range of social safety nets that cover close to 16 percent of the entire population. While income inequality has also decline during the same period, it did not decline by the same magnitude as poverty.
We have come to realize that as long as we continue to have poverty in Namibia, even if just one percent, we can never have lasting peace and social justice. Similarly, as long as the wealth of the country is disproportionately in the hands of a few, we cannot have lasting peace and stability. It is for this reason that we have declared full-scale war against poverty and income inequality. Similarly, we have declared full-scale war against corruption, because corruption is one of the root causes of poverty and inequality.
In line with the belief that people must be at the centre of development, we have coined the phrase, “no Namibian should feel left out”. The logic is simple, for inclusivity spells harmony and peace, whereas exclusivity spells disaster, conflict and potential war. We, therefore, commend you, Mr. President, for the choice of theme for this Session
“Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent
life for all on a sustainable planet”.
In a climate of ever increasing uncertainty and unpredictability, it is incumbent on world leaders to renew faith in multilateralism. The United Nations matters most, because it is at the center of the needs and desires of humanity. Therefore, it must be inclusive by including Africa at the highest decision-making level. By failing to do this, the UN stands at risk of losing its respectability. The only sure way to restore trust in the UN will be for the Security Council to become more inclusive. The people of Namibia can testify to the importance of multilateralism. Namibia is a Child of International Solidarity, conceived by valiant patriots, delivered by Resolution 435 and midwifed by the United Nations. Today, thanks to the support of the international community, we are an independent Nation, founded upon the principles of Democracy, Unity, Stability, Peace and the Rule of Law.
People centered development should not only extend to a small part of the population. It must cover all demographic components. Too often, the largest demographic component in our societies, namely our mothers, sisters and daughters are excluded from development. We, in Namibia, believe that gender equity is equally important for a stable and harmonious society. In this regard, a policy decision by the ruling party to introducing a 50-50 representation at all party levels has led to a significant improvement of the representation of females, to 48 percent in Namibia’s National Assembly. This is the second highest level of representation on the continent and among the top five in the world.
To give further meaning to this policy directive, women have also been appointed in key positions in the Executive. These include:
The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minster, who is also the Minister of
International Relations and Cooperation;
The Minister and Deputy Minister of Education Arts and Culture;
The Minister and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology;
The Minister and Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development; and the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration.
Another significant demographic component that we must not neglect is the youth. In Namibia, we value the empowerment of the youth. Many of the so-called older guard, have been groomed and well prepared in the structures of the ruling party and Government before they were assigned higher responsibilities. This practice continues with a number of deputy ministers that are youthful,
while our Attorney General is one of the youngest on the continent. Very soon, the last crop of the “Tanganyika Group” including myself will make way for the new breed.
When we adopted Agenda 2030, and acceded to the 2015 Paris Agreement, we not only reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism, but we also reaffirmed the reality of climate change. What happened in Sierra Leone, the Caribbean and some parts of the United States is a grim reminder that Climate Change is real. We witnessed the stripping away of human dignity, security and hope. We must therefore increase our resolve to address the challenges of climate change.
To achieve the ambitions of living on a sustainable planet, peace processes and international peace building must be strengthened. We also recognize the contribution of women in promoting global peace, both in peace negotiations and active participation in peace missions. Namibia supports efforts to increase the representation of women in peace missions around the world, especially in leadership capacities.
Out of 52 UN peacekeeping and special political missions, 26 are in Africa. Therefore, we recognize the institutional partnership between the UN Security Council and the African Union in the maintenance of international peace and security. This not only enhances cooperation between the two institutions, but also adds greater legitimacy to the decisions taken by the Security Council on Africa. Africa should not only be seen as a source of precious primary commodities, but an important and equal partner of the international community, with a contribution to make. In this context, we welcome the recent agreement between the Secretary General and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to enhance coordination between the Africa Union and the United Nations
Namibia stands together with the international consensus that the Israeli occupation of Palestine must end. We reiterate that statehood and independence are the national, inalienable, and legal rights of the Palestinian people. We therefore join the call for the two-state solution to be pursued with renewed vigor and determination. Similarly, the people of Western Sahara cannot continue to have their inalienable rights to self-determination and national independence denied. Namibia, therefore, reaffirms its full and unequivocal support for the inalienable rights of the People of the Western Sahara to self-determination. We call upon for the urgent implementation of all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, with the aim of holding a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara.
Over the past several years, Namibia has been noting the growing rapprochement between Cuba and the United States, culminating in the reopening of embassies between the two countries. We believe that this rapprochement should lead to the full lifting of economic and financial embargo against the Republic of Cuba and its people, who have the right to pursue peace and a decent life.
Namibia is committed to supporting this organization to achieve global peace. AsAlbert Einstein once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved through understanding”. Let us, therefore, try to be more tolerant by embracing diverse views through dialogue and understanding, before hastily embarking on a path of force, which will only lead to conflict and eventually war. The United Nations is a great social experiment which features small and large nations coexisting in peace and harmony. If the United Nations did not exist today, I would definitely call for such an organization to exist. Let us continue to treasure the unity of the United Nations, for it is only through unity, that we will bring about a world free from fear and conflict. It is only through unity, that we will bring about a world free from hunger and poverty. It is only through unity, that we will deliver a sustainable planet for our children and their children.
I thank you for your kind attention!
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE G. GEINGOB, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA ON THE COMMEMORATION OF HEROES DAY OSHAKATI OSHANA REGION ON SATURDAY 26 AUGUST 2017
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATEMENT BY H.E. BONNY HAUFIKU, AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA TO FINLAND, AT THE COMMEMORATION OF THE HEROES AND HEROINES DAY, AND SPECIFICALLY THIS YEAR DEDICATED TO ANDIMBA TOIVO YA TOIVO.
25th AUGUST 2017 HELSINKI, FINLAND
Statement by Ambassador Haufiku on the celebration of Heroes Day on
27th August 2017
Director of Ceremonies
Senior Pastor, Samuel Vogel
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Namibian Society living in Finland
Namibian Students from Joensuu and Rauma
Comrades and Friends
Namibia Day takes place on August 26, each year. Namibia Day or Namibian Heroes’ Day is a national public holiday in Namibia. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day. The day commemorates the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe. National celebrations take place annually at different places. Usually hundreds of thousands of people gather near the battle zones to officially commemorate the day with veterans of the liberation war of different generations in Namibia.
- The Red Flag in Okahandja- Chief Samuel Maharero
- The battle in August 1904- battle of Waterberg
- It is 26th August of war of liberation by SWAPO of Namibia
- Nama war and death of Witbooi’s remembered and many other battles
- Military Medals are also handed out on this day
On 26th August, each year the Namibian nation commemorate the bravery of our heroes and heroines who sacrificed their life’s, fighting for the freedom of our beloved Namibia, land of the brave.
This year 26th August 2017, which was yesterday, however, we want to dedicate the Hero’s day of this year specifically to Comrade Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo, strongman of the Namibian liberation struggle, who died on the 9th June 2017, Andimba was one of the bravest sons of Namibia who has done so much for the people of Namibia and fought fearlessly for freedom and justice in Namibia and for the International community at large.
Comrade Toivo ya Toivo was born and grew up in Northern Namibia. During his childhood years, he was a cattle herder, a practice that is customary to most young fellows in northern Namibia. He went to a mission school and later became a teacher. After a short period as a teacher he moved to Cape Town in South Africa and worked on the railways as a miner. During this period, South Africa was occupying South West Africa, Namibia where it practiced the same racial segregation and policies of apartheid as in South Africa.
South Africa was mandated by the League of Nations to govern Namibia and develop the country until the time when the people of South West Africa can run their own affairs. When that time came, Comrade Toivo ya Toivo and many pioneers of our liberation struggle started demanding freedom and independence. It is when the South African racist regime tried to suppress them against their will and in Cape Town Toivo ya Toivo soon came into conflict with the South African regime. Comrade Andimba Toivo ya Toivo is a son of the Namibian Soil who understood only too well at his youthful time the great responsibilities that history had entrusted upon him.
The Liberation Struggle Stalwart Andimba Toivo ya Toivo decided already at that time to wage a war against discrimination, apartheid, oppression and colonialism in Namibia and in the world. It was a calling that time that our leaders chose not to submit to the colonial powers that sought to vanquish, oppress and exploit our people. The spirit of resistance grew in them and led in the formation of one of the first political parties of Namibia, which was formed by him when he was leaving in Cape Town; the Ovambo People’s Congress, later changed to OPO and after that renamed SWAPO under the leadership of the Founding Father Comrade Dr. Sam Nujoma.
Andimba Toivo ya Toivo was also one of the founders of SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation). He remained loyal to SWAPO until the end of his life.
We are proud that ya Toivo and his colleagues, our leaders, both those who were with him in Cape Town, and those left in Namibia or ran into exile, paved the way in forming a united front against racist South Africa. They confronted many and various challenges throughout the struggle. The leaders that time represented their country and people in unity and determination to overthrow the yoke of apartheid and colonialism. Comrade ya Toivo was part and among this proud patriotic resistance group. Today we see the fruits and the product of their sacrifice: i.e. a free, independent and democratic Namibia. Comrade ya Toivo and his comrades participated in the struggle selflessly without any compensation or personal gain but that of ours and the future generations.
Comrade ya Toivo is a symbol of the manifestation of the unbreakable thread that connects our people’s proud history of independence with the ongoing valiant struggle for Freedom. He was part of the Liberation Movement at a difficult, challenging and risky time, during which many sons and daughters of Namibia paid supreme sacrifices. We should respect these Veterans and preserve the heritage and history of the Liberation Struggle because if you do not know where you are coming from you will never know where you are going to.
Toivo ya Toivo was deported to Ovamboland the northern Namibia after he had smuggled a petition calling for Namibia’s independence to the United Nations and he was placed under house arrest, he however continued his activities for the liberation of Namibia in the north of Namibia. Toivo ya Toivo was eventually arrested with 36 other Namibians and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on Robben Island in Pretoria in 1968 in terms of South African terrorism act as by their law in South Africa. At the same time with Toivo ya Toivo, ANC’s freedom fighters, such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, were serving long prison sentences.
In the statement in defence of his case ya Toivo said “We are Namibians, and not South Africans,”. “We do not now, and will not in the future, recognize your right to govern us, to make laws for us in which we have no say, to treat our country as if it were your property and us as if you were our masters.” This was an inspiring statement that many thousands used against the racist regime during the time of the struggle.
What is now left is to continue improving the wellbeing of the Namibian people, I thank all countries, Governments, Solidarity Groups, Trade Unions, Student Unions, other liberation struggle movements and individual and personalities, e.g. the Frontline States, Fidel Castro of Cuba. I salute the Palestine’s and we are committed to be in solidarity with Palestine and support their legitimate course of freedom. I thank Finland and all Nordic countries. We will continue to recognize the special role played by Fidel Castro and President Martti Ahtisaari, in the process of the liberation of Namibia.
Late Andimba, contribution during that time as one of the SWAPO leaders will go down in the history of Namibia and that of SWAPO the national liberation movement of Namibia at that time.
Andimba Toivo ya Toivo returned to Namibia before the elections together with thousands of his exiled comrades and served his country as the Minister of Mines and Energy, Minister of Labour Relations and Minister of Prisons and Correctional Services as well as a Member of Parliament. He served the Nation with honour and integrity.
Comrade Andimba once said that “the struggle of Liberation will be long and bitter but I know that my people will wage that struggle whatever the cost”. I wish that with the good examples of Comrade ya Toivo and other fallen heroes will teach us to reconnect again to same and one political view and consciousness, and understand that the more we are divided, the more the differences grow; the more we delay the acceleration of economic liberation of our country and our people.
In conclusion, Comrade Toivo ya Toivo was a true hero, a fearless man, an icon of our national liberation struggle, a patriotic Namibian citizen, a freedom fighter, an internationalist, a Robben Island political prisoner, a humanitarian, a visionary leader and a man of deep conviction whose life has been full of trails and tribulation because of his deep-seated aspiration determination to fight for freedom, justice and independence of his people.
I would like to thank you all of you here today for coming to this special church commemoration to honour the Namibian Heroes and Heroines the legacy of this hero of the struggle and other international role players who lost their lives for the freedom of our country.
Their blood waters our freedom. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
I now light the candles symbolising freedom, independence, democracy and love in Namibia today.
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY
DR. HAGE G. GEIGOB,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA ,
AT THE LAUNCH OF THE
DR THEO-BEN GURIRAB LECTURE SERIES
JULY 31, 2017
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATEMENT BY HONORABLE NETUMBO NANDI – NDAITWAH ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF THE DR THEO-BEN GURIRAB LECTURE SERIES
31 JULY 2017
Your Excellency Comrade Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and Madam Geingos, First Lady
Former President of the Republic of Namibia, Comrade Hifikepunye Lukas Pohamba
Comrade Dr. Nickey Iyambo, Vice-President of the Republic of Namibia
The Rt. Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minster of the Republic of Namibia
Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly
Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council
Your Lordship, Chief Justice Peter Shivute
In the interest of time, please allow me to respect the protocol that was established by the Director of Ceremonies.
On behalf of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, which I have the distinct honor and privilege to head, I wish to welcome His Excellency Comrade President, former President and all distinguished participants to this historic event, the launch of the Dr. Theo – Ben Gurirab Lecture Series.
The question might be asked, why the Lecture Series? In answering, our President, Namibia’s Chief Diplomat will elaborate further on that. Let me however mention that, following the Foreign Policy Review Conference held from 25 – 29 July 2016, and taking into account the over subscription of all the workshops held then, the overarching interest of the general public, especially the youth and academia in global events and how they impact on our domestic policies, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation decided to introduce Lecture Series, in order to inform and engage the public about contemporary global events.
The Lecture Series will encourage the population to be involved in shaping Policy on International Relations (Foreign Policy), in relation to Namibia’s development agenda as outlined in our Constitution, Vision 2030 and its NDPs, the SWAPO Party Election Manifesto, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), complemented by the AU Africa Agenda 2063, and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. These Lecture Series will provide an opportunity to reflect on how best we can continue to effectively serve the interests of the Namibian people, contributing to their security, prosperity and wellbeing, as well as the promotion of the country’s values, through its active international engagements.
Topics to be discussed during the Lecture Series will be based on contemporary global events. Presenters will be drawn from Government including Senior Management in MIRCO, the Namibia Association of Former Ambassadors (NAFA), various sectors of society such as academia, civil society, Parliament, private Sector, youth representatives, Diplomatic corps, parastatals etc., and were necessary, international experts. The Lecture Series will be held on a quarterly basis, and the venues for the Series will rotate among the 14 Regions to ensure that no one should feel left out.
It is our hope, that interest will continue to grow and together we will maximize the benefits our country derive from our regional, continental and international engagements.
Once again welcome to the launch and we look forward to active interaction and enriching deliberations.
Comrade President, when something is closer to your heart you need not to organize, it comes on its own. When Comrade President said 31st July 2017 will feel well in our programs, we were not aware that this event will also marks the 53rd anniversary of the formation of the Pan African Women Organization. Though I am excited and happy to mark this day with such distinguished people, I will not go into details but rather leave it to the person I am going to introduce. Our main Speaker is one of the pioneers of Namibia’s diplomatic activities. From Tsumeb, he had few months of diplomatic training in Bechuanaland (now Botswana, possible graduate in Belgian Congo (Now DRC) and in New York to serve as SWAPO petitioner while studying and now our number one Diplomat. I am talking of Cde. Hage G. Geingob President of the Republic of Namibia.
May I now invite all of you to join me as I invite H.E. the President to address us.
Cde. President you are welcome to address and launch the Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture Series.
I THANK YOU!
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
BRIEFING TO MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS, BY HONOURABLE NETUMBO NANDI-NDAITWAH, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION, 31 JULY 2017
Director of Ceremonies,
Your Excellency, Mr. Manuel Alexandre Duarte Rodrigues, Ambassador of the Republic of Angola and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Senior Officials of the Ministry International Relations and Cooperation Distinguished invited Guests,
Members of the Media Fraternity,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I take this opportunity to once again welcome you all, to this briefing Session for the Diplomatic Corps. I particularly give a special welcome to the new members of our diplomatic family. We are already at the end of the seventh month and it has indeed been an eventful first half of the year.
POLICY ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
- I trust that you have all received invitations to attend the launch of the Lecture Series of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation. This lecture Series were informed by the Foreign Policy Review Conference that was held last year. These series are an effort to engage the Namibian public to take a deeper interest in global issues and how they affect Namibia in particular. While on this issue, let me also inform that the Policy on International Relations and Cooperation was adopted by cabinet and is now before Parliament for deliberation.
- Namibia is prone to drought and other climatic disasters. The passed three years our country has experience severe drought. However, though we are still waiting for the assessment on the production for this year, following good rain in most area of the country except for Kunene Region, we are hoping to have a better harvest in comparison to the previous years. We thank your countries and organizations for the relentless support rendered to us particularly in the area of food and rehabilitation of water infrastructures. We will continue to count on the support of your countries and organizations whenever such situation occurs.
- Being Representatives of your respective countries and organizations in Namibia of which you are familiar with our history, you would have realized that the issue of land in Namibia is very sensitive one given that it deals not only with ownership but livelihood of our nationals and citizens. In this context, the Government has always been sensitive to the overall social and economic needs of our people, including ownership and access to land.
- I must underscore that, the land issue remains a very sensitive and emotional issue in our national body politic. I have the pleasure to inform that regional consultations for the holding of the Second National Land Conference are ongoing. This is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to seriously address all issues affecting the people of Namibia. The Second National Land Conference is expected to critically review the implementation of the resolutions of the first Land Conference and make recommendations on the way forward for peace, equity, efficiency and the promotion of productive and sustainable livelihoods through the implementation of programs targeted at poverty eradication as highlighted in the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
THE RULING SWAPO PARTY CONGRESS
- Namibia remains a stable multiparty democracy. To this end, I wish to inform that the ruling SWAPO Party will hold its ordinary Congress in November this year, 2017, where the Party is expected to review both the Party and government achievements and challenges since the last Congress. The Congress will also come up with possible directives on the economic and social issues in order to guard the national development agenda. In line with the Party’s Constitution, the Congress will also elect its new leadership that will guide the party activities in the next five years.
- Namibia remains committed to the promotion of regional integration in the SADC Region, with a view to accelerate the eradication of poverty and attain socio-economic development. We are determined to achieve the objectives set out in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) by implementing SADC decisions and programs that are aimed at moving the Region towards industrialization.
- On the political and security situation in the region remains relatively stable and peaceful. However, there have been some political and security challenges in the Kingdom of Lesotho and this case has been accorded adequate attention by SADC organs with a view to attaining lasting peace and political stability.
- I am pleased to inform you that Namibia participated in the SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) to observe the National Assembly elections in the Kingdom of Lesotho which took place on 3 June 2017. It is our hope that the new government in Lesotho will strive to implement the SADC Summit decisions regarding constitutional and security sector reforms that would eventually bring peace and political stability to the Kingdom of Lesotho. Namibia shall therefore continue to support these efforts to ensure these objectives are met.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the situation is receiving our undivided attention. SADC Member States in general and Namibia in particular, will continue to support the implementation of the December 2017 Agreement, which was signed between the DRC Government and opposition parties. In tandem with SADC efforts, we are indeed committed to assist so that sustainable peace and stability is achieved in that country. It is a common knowledge that elections in DRC will not take place this year. However, we hope the Electoral Commission in DRC will do everything possible for elections to take place in April 2018 as indicated by DRC.
- In January 2017, Heads of State and Government of the African Union convened once again in Addis Ababa to deliberate on matters of importance to the Continent. The decisions of the 28th Assembly ushered in a new era for the Union and its Commission, when it elected the new leadership of the AU Commission; adopted new Institutional Reforms; and welcomed Morocco as a new member of the African Union.
- The new leadership in the Commission is fully operational, and Namibia looks forward to working closely with the Commission in the coming years. The new reforms introduced by H.E. President Kagame of Rwanda, as mandated by the Assembly, are meant to improve the effectiveness and the efficient functioning of the AU. We commend President Kagame for his tireless efforts in addressing the institutional reform of the AU.
- In addition, the 27th AU Assembly, held in Kigali, in July 2016, made a decision to establish a 0.2% levy on eligible imports coming from outside Africa, in order to ensure the sustainability of funding to the AU and its bodies. In this regard, Namibia remains committed to paying its assessed contributions, on time and in full.
- In reference to the admission of Morocco into the AU, Namibia believes that all AU Member States should work together to encourage the two Member States, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, to engage in direct and serious talks and extend the necessary cooperation to the AU policy organs, the Commission and the AU High Representative for Western Sahara. We are encouraged by the work of the AU Peace and Security Council on this issue and we look forward to the continued cooperation between the AU and UN on the question of Western Sahara and other issues of common concern.
- One other important issue for Africa is our collective resolve to canvas support for the Common African Position on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as expounded in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration. The historical injustice that the African continent continues to endure must be corrected without further delay. As a Member of the AU and AU Committee of Ten, Namibia calls for a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, in line with the demands of the Common African Position.
- As you all are aware, the theme of the African Union for 2017 is entitled, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth”. How can African youth feel empowered, when the world around them is very unequal? African youth must therefore be given a chance to dream, and opportunities to live free from violence and oppression, in a just world. Giving Africa a voice in the UN Security Council would be a step in the right direction for the future benefit of our youth. It is therefore very critical that Africa remains united in this cause.
- The unity of African Union Member States is not just a process, but it is being made practical through a number of initiatives our Heads of State and Government have adopted. One such decision is the move towards the free movement of African citizens on the continent. In this regard, the Namibian Government has approved visa exemption for Diplomatic and Official Passport holders from all African countries. We have however also requested all the African countries to avail their diplomatic and official passports samples in order to operationalize our good gesture in the spirit of Pan Africanism.
- Furthermore, the envisaged Continental Free Trade Area is expected to be launched in 2018. The Continental Free Trade Area is a Flagship Program of Agenda 2063, specifically in its First-Ten Year Implementation Plan, and the African Ministers of Trade have intensified their efforts to realize the dream of an integrated continent through open markets.
- I call upon all our partners, to continue to assist the continent to strengthen its socio-economic development programs to empower the youth, create jobs, build much-needed infrastructure, support vocational training programs, promote renewable energy initiatives, and create knowledge-based societies in Africa. Empowering Africa is for the benefit of all citizens of the world, in particular those in Europe who have been at the receiving end of migration flows, as a result of youth unemployment, poverty, the effects of climate change, and socio-economic unrest.
- In this regard, Namibia certainly welcomes the UN Systems support as contained in the recommendation advanced to the General Assembly and The Secretary General for endorsement and implementation at the recently concluded Committee for Program Coordination, in terms of the envisaged support to NEPAD, which is organized around eight re-aligned thematic clusters and topics in pursuance of the NEPAD priorities and, in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- As you may be aware, these thematic clusters comprised (i) infrastructure development, especially hard infrastructures, (ii) governance, peace and security, (iii) agriculture, food security and rural development, (iv) industry, trade and market access, (v) the environment, population and urbanization, (vi) social and human development, (vii) science and technology and, last but not least (viii) communication and advocacy outreach.
- As exemplified in my forgoing pronouncements, Namibia attaches great importance to the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, which has been informed by Africa’s development priorities, as reflected in the Common Africa Position (CAP) on the post 2015 development agenda. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries, poor, rich, middle-income and, those in transition, to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. The successful implementation of Agenda 2030 requires a robust global partners and regional cooperation that is crucial to the removal of barriers, which include, trans-boundary issues such as trade, shared natural resources and environmental challenges. In this regard, Namibia will continue to call for the support of all our development partners, in ensuring that we successfully and effectively implement UN Agenda 2030. In this regards, I am glad to remind that, the National Planning Commission as our key developmental agency, officially launched the NDP5 which to a large extend has domesticated both the UN Agenda 2030 and AU Agenda 2063.
- With regard to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Namibia as a uranium producing country reiterates the inalienable right of developing countries to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination, including its uses for the treatment of cancer, agricultural production and energy generation. Some of your countries have received our letters seeking support for our intention to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). We are currently a member of the Board of the International Atomic Energy and are one of the important players in the production of uranium. We hope we can count on your support.
- The world has scaled down as far as colonialism is concerned. However, there are still remnants of it. Colonialism represents one of the most serious violations of national sovereignty of States, in breach of international law. Foreign occupation creates an environment in which the occupied people are exposed to a wide range of systemic and gross violations of human rights and freedoms, including dispossession, displacement and denial of their right to self-determination. Against this background, Namibia continues to reaffirm its solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara, and call for the full implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions on Palestine as well as the UN Settlement Plan for Western Sahara. Furthermore, in welcoming the admission of the Kingdom of Morocco into the African Union Family, Namibia expects the Kingdom of Morocco to fully abide by the provisions of the AU Constitutive Act, in particular its principle on the right to self-determination.
- In this connection Namibia will continue to contribute to the work of the Committee on the “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” which we are happy to serve on.
- In conclusion, allow me to seize this opportunity, to reiterate my invitation to you to join H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia at the launch of the Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture Series, which will take place at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino, at 18h00, today.
CONDOLENCE MESSAGE FOR
LATE HERMAN ANDIMBA TOIVO YA TOIVA
1924 – 2017
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS 2017
HIS EXCELLENCY DR. HAGE G. GEINGOB PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
12 April 2017 WINDHOEK
Honourable Professor Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly and Mrs Katjavivi,
Honourable Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council and Mr. Williams,
Right Honourable Kuugongelwa-Amadhila Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament;
Honourable Venaani, Leader of the Official Opposition;
Honourable Mbumba, Secretary General of the Governing Party and Member of Parliament;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
- Comrade Iyambo, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia,
- Comrade Nujoma, Founding President of the Republic of Namibia and Father of the Namibian Nation,
- Madam Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia,
- Former First Lady, Madam Nujoma,
- Your Lordship Chief Justice Shivute,
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle,
- Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
- Distinguished Invited Guests,
- Members of the Media,
- Fellow Namibians,
I was humbled to watch the build up to this State of Nation Address, where Namibians from all walks of life gave guidance on what they believed should be included in my third State of the Nation Address. This reminded me that we are all invested in a shared destiny and I sincerely thank all of you for your input.
My maiden State of the Nation Address on the 21st of April 2015 focused on the central theme of my dream for Namibia. Inspired by my predecessors – one of whom is in this Chamber with us as a Special Guest – I envision a strong, resilient and inclusive Namibian House where no Namibian feels left out. I truly believe that inclusivity spells peace and harmony, while exclusivity spells discord and conflict. Inclusivity, therefore, is the most important ingredient in the task of nation building.
My second State of the Nation Address, delivered on the 3rd of April, 2016, during which we launched the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), was preceded by a full year of nationwide consultations and intense planning. In implementing HPP, we remain guided by Vision 2030 which is our overarching, long-term developmental goal.
Leading up to this Address, many Namibians have expressed expectation that we should account on the implementation of the HPP. As a responsive Government, this State of the Nation Address will, therefore, primarily focus on the latest status of implementation of the HPP targets.
We issued a mid-year review of Year One in December 2016. Some mistook this review with the mid-term review of the Budget that took place in October. In the interest of transparency, it was broadcast live for all Namibians to see what we have achieved.
We have been immensely encouraged by the various ways in which Namibians, from all walks of life, have rallied behind the call to ‘hold hands and pull in the same direction’. The word Harambee has entered the “Namlish” lexicon as a verb and call for co-operation. The number of taxis, cuca shops and food vendors which are named Harambee confirms that the concept of Harambee is interwoven into the Namibian narrative.
It is encouraging to observe how ordinary Namibians have internalized Harambee and have assumed their personal responsibility in contributing towards our shared prosperity. The response of young Armando Pieters is a personified example. This 12-year-old boy from Katutura, together with young friends, started the ‘Poverty Eradication Warriors’ group, leading a community cleanup campaign as their contribution towards the HPP. (Armando is here in the Chamber today. Please stand up Armando.) When asked what support they would like to receive from Government, his simple response was, “ we do not want money. We only need tools and refuse bags to clean up our neighbourhood.” What this young leader and his friends did is a demonstration of the spirit of Harambee and I am proud of them.
I believe this is what President John F Kennedy meant when he said “ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”. I would like to borrow from that concept and say “…ask not always what your Government can do for you…”. Like Armando and his young peers, it could be helpful to say, ‘this is what we are doing, now how can Government meet us half way’.
The first year of implementation of any new programme inevitably has teething problems. The valuable lessons learnt have been incorporated into our approaches and processes. After all, Government is and must remain adaptable to change and responsive to new ideas. In order to reap the full potential of our country, each of us needs to sow with hard work. There is a need for all of us to rededicate ourselves to more responsive implementation. It is for this reason that I have declared the year 2017 as the Year of Rededication.
Please allow me to speak about each of the Harambee Pillars, starting with Effective Governance and Service Delivery.
At the centre of effective Governance is accountability and transparency. I truly believe in my mathematical formula that ‘Transparency plus Accountability equals Trust’. We are undoubtedly all observing the high levels of global and local distrust towards political leaders. Diminishing levels of trust are also evident amongst different stakeholders, not only between the public and government institutions, but also between boards, management and employees in both the public and private sector. The only sure way to restore trust is to be transparent and to hold people to account.
We can be proud as Namibians of the strong Governance Architecture we have in place, which is internationally recognised. We continue to be rated by Transparency International, as one of the least corrupt countries on the continent. Similarly, we continue to score high in the Mo-Ibrahim Governance ratings, as well as in the Governance sub-indices of the World Economic Forum and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business reports. Another important component of our Governance Architecture, the Media or the Fourth Estate continue to be rated as the freest press on the African continent. We must preserve and improve upon these achievements at all cost.
Over the past two years, we have taken concrete actions to improve transparency and accountability and thereby strengthen our Governance Architecture.
- My wife and I have publicly and voluntarily declared our assets and income and lodged same declarations with the Anti Corruption Commission. In addition, I addressed the secrecy that surrounds the health of leaders by publicly releasing my health report.
- On his own accord, the Minister of Finance also publicly declared his assets. I commend him for that. Other Ministers have declared their assets to me as Appointing Authority, for evaluation against potential conflicts of interest. They have also declared, as required, to the Parliament;
- Management cadre in the civil service have also declared their interest;
- As promised, we have publicly released the Remuneration of all Public Office Bearers. The negative short-term trend of sensationalising information obtained due to these and other disclosures will hopefully translate into a positive, long-term trend of a culture of transparency.
Light has a sanitizing effect on everything it touches and our drive for accountability is to ensure that shared prosperity happens in the bright light of accountability, and not in the dark shadows of corruption.
- Numerous media conferences were held. For example, for our mission to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, we hosted both pre and post-mission media conferences, to brief the Nation on the scope and outcomes of that mission;
We continue to tackle cases of perceived and alleged corruption, head on. Concrete actions taken to demonstrate the resolve of Government to fight corruption include:
Cancellation of the N$7 billion Hosea Kutako International Airport upgrading tender: Despite the urgent need to upgrade the airport, we did not hesitate to seek the cancellation of the tender due to irregularities. The Supreme Court’s decision to set the tender award aside enabled us to re-start a transparent, cost-sensitive procurement process.
- Lodging an investigation into the National Oil Storage Facility to contain increasing costs: If Government were not serious about fighting corruption; investigations into alleged irregularities at the oil storage facility would not have been initiated.
- Action taken against the SME Bank: While we cannot comment in detail on this matter, because it is sub-judice, Government did not intervene to stop actions taken by the Bank of Namibia against the SME Bank.
- Investigations into tax evasion and money laundering: The Ministry of Finance initiated an investigation into alleged tax evasion, where a “friend” of the President is implicated. If the President were not serious about fighting corruption, why did he not intervene to protect his so-called “friend” from arrest? We believe that the law must be allowed to take its course without fear or favour, and;
- Ongoing cases of alleged corruption: When we ask people to report cases of corruption, the classic cases such as the Avid Social Security Case, Offshore Development Company and Development Capital Portfolio of the GIPF are mentioned. Recently, the KORA Music Awards case has been added.
All these cases have been investigated or are in the hands of the Courts. Corruption and complicity to corruption would be when Government closes its eyes or looks the other way. However, we have taken bold actions, as demonstrated. This means the proverbial ‘bull’ that is corruption is being taken by the ‘horns’.
Another concrete action taken to strengthen our Governance Architecture is the promulgation of the new Public Procurement Act, effective from the 1st of April 2017. The regulations and guidelines to the Act have been finalised, and the members of the Central Procurement Board and Review Panel, appointed.
The Act extends to all public entities and will promote greater accountability and transparency. It was further enhanced by the Supreme Court ruling in the “Airport Upgrade” case that all public procurement, including that of State Owned Enterprises, require the approval of the Treasury. We believe this to be a game-changer in ensuring fair, transparent and accountable usage of public funds in procurement processes. The Act is also transformational as it promotes inclusivity and economic development through local content sourcing.
Unfortunately, the Whistleblower’s Protection and Access to Information Bills were not finalised timeously. We anticipate their enactment this year. The Honourable Ministers of Justice, and Information and Communication Technology are enjoined to take the necessary action.
To improve accountability, we have introduced a performance management system at the highest level in Government. In the interest of transparency, Ministerial performance contracts are available on the website of the Office of the Prime Minister. Apart from quarterly performance reports by OMAs, we have also introduced one-on-one performance discussions between myself, as President, and individual Cabinet Ministers.
I can assure the Nation that Ministers have taken performance management very seriously. At times, we do not achieve targets as planned. In some instances, we operate in silos. However, what is of importance is that we are progressing in the right direction and ironing out identified challenges as they manifest.
To further improve service delivery, we have introduced e-Services in critical sectors, such as e-Birth notifications at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration. The business registration process is partly digitised, while applications for funding from the Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund can now be completed online. These reforms have brought about efficiency gains. Government will continue to roll out the e-Governance services in other sectors such as health, education, finance and Inland Revenue.
A feedback mechanism has been initiated through the provision of a feedback box system at all OMAs. One key feedback initiative on service delivery is the annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey. While the survey for Year One was delayed, a Tool has been designed and a contract awarded to conduct the survey during the first quarter of this Financial Year.
Let me now turn to the Economic Advancement Pillar.
A critical success factor under this Pillar is to “safeguard our macro-economic stability.” This is because stability is a pre-condition for sustained economic development.
As with Governance, we have a good story to tell about our Economic Architecture. The size of our economy and per capita income has expanded exponentially since Independence. Total GDP in nominal terms increased from about N$5.5 billion in 1990 to N$159 billion in 2016, a 28-fold increase. Per capita income in nominal terms increased from N$2,400 to N$68 thousand during the same period. The size of our national budget increased from N$2.1 billion in 1990/91 to the current budget size of N$62 billion.
We have contained Government debt, with a good domestic versus foreign debt mix and we continue to enjoy investment grade ratings by Fitch and Moody. We have worked very hard over the past 18 months to avoid being downgraded, despite the fact that some variables that impact grading decisions of rating agencies, are outside of our control.
The year 2016 was characterized by unexpected global headwinds, which negatively affected our fiscal position and the general performance of our economy. Most African countries recorded subdued or negative growth. Namibia was no exception. Due to a slump in commodity prices, low SACU receipts, adverse currency movements and a near collapse of cross border trade with our northern neighbour; combined output of domestic economic activities had to be revised downwards.
Whereas we expected the economy to expand above 4 percent at the beginning of 2016, we realised during the mid-term budget review that that projection was unattainable. Consequently, we had to effect the deepest cuts to the budget since Independence to ensure fiscal sustainability and put the economy on a sustainable long-term growth trajectory. Today, the fiscal position has stabilised. We expect modest growth for 2017, while the longer-term growth outlook has improved considerably.
In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘you should never let a good crisis go to waste’. Thus, we used the opportunity to stabilize our fiscal position and also instituted measures aimed at making our economy more resilient and better poised to absorb exogenous shocks. If there is one thing that we can be certain of, it is that exogenous shocks will occur again, perhaps even sooner than anticipated. For example, the recent downgrade of South Africa’s foreign debt instruments by rating agencies may have an impact on our own debt ratings and costs of capital. At the moment however, we do not see any reason to delink our currency from the South African Rand. We will carefully monitor macroeconomic conditions and if need be, attune policy accordingly to ensure a stable environment for business and households to operate in.
In line with one of our Harambee targets, we have retained our international credit ratings in 2016, which means international investors continue to have confidence in the Namibian economy. According to Bloomberg, Namibia is the only sub-Saharan African country to remain an investment grade issuer of Eurobonds. To quote our Minister of Finance on twitter, “it took effort to get there, it needs more effort to stay there.” We will put in our best efforts to ensure that we manage the factors within our control which affect our investment rating.
Our own domestic investors also remain confident in the economy as demonstrated by re-investments into existing business enterprises and ongoing expansions into various economic sectors. We value the contribution of Namibian investors to the economy. It is for this reason that, last year, we repealed the Foreign Investment Act and replaced it with the Investment Promotion Act, which places local investors on the same footing as international investors.
We have used the economic downturn as an opportunity to re-prioritise and realign spending to national developmental priorities. Most budget cuts have been effected in non-priority votes, such as daily subsistence allowances and overtime, which have been cut by more than 50 percent compared to previous outlays.
We are painfully aware that the civil service wage bill, both in relation to GDP and total expenditure, is high.
Let us also be reminded that there is historical context to the current size of the civil service. One such contributing factor was the reconciliatory approach that Government adopted at independence. I was paraphrased by some news publications to have said, “Colonialism was to blame for the wage bill”. Putting these words into my mouth intentionally overlooked the fact that most Namibians were excluded from the civil service at Independence.
In addition, having been administered from Pretoria, some state functions, such as International Relations, Security and Defense did not exist in Namibia. Services in which we are currently heavily invested like health and education were grossly underfunded in a deliberate attempt to deny the majority of the population decent services and a dignified life. In a reconciliatory manner, we came together and held hands. There is, therefore, one may argue, an invaluable peace dividend in the current size of the civil service.
It has been alleged that the reason for the high wage bill was the creation of new Ministries and appointment of too many presidential advisors. This cannot be true, as the remuneration of all Public Office Bearers constitutes only 0.42 percent of the total budget. In other words, one can do away with every single Public Office Bearer, from President, Vice President, Ministers, Governors and Advisors and still remain with a high wage bill.
Despite the current size of the civil service, we continue to face acute shortages of skills and experience in some areas. This represents a mismatch between the size and the skills required. For example, in the public health sector, our per capita ratio is one doctor to every 5,092 people and one registered nurse to 914 people. In contrast, the World Health Organisation’s benchmark is one doctor or one nurse per 435 people, respectively. The Medical School at the University of Namibia is one of many investments in ensuring the provision of critical skills.
This underscores the point that we have to be more scientific and methodical in addressing the size of the civil service. Last year, the Prime Minister compiled a Report on how best to stabilise the wage bill in an orderly and sustainable manner. That Report has been finalised and the recommendations which are deemed feasible will be implemented.
The high unemployment rate, especially among the youth, which is estimated at 39.2 percent, is a source of concern. It is not that our economy does not have the ability to create jobs, it is the rate of job creation that is problematic. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, there were seven-hundred and twelve thousand people employed in 2014. This was almost double the number of people employed in 1997, when the first Labour Force Survey was conducted. This insufficient job creation is attributable to investment flows that are largely concentrated in the resource sector and capital-intensive industries.
Youth unemployment has the potential to undermine the peace and stability in our country. We must summon the urgency and energy to implement transformational solutions.
One key strategy we are deploying to arrest youth unemployment is the promotion of high quality vocational education and skills training. Preliminary results are very encouraging. Under HPP, we have targeted to increase Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) enrollments to 16 thousand students in 2016. We have significantly exceeded this target as more than 24 thousand students were enrolled in 2016. Moreover, all of the students benefit from highly subsidised fees, while 80 percent of all students also benefit from scholarships from the Namibia Training Authority or the Student Financial Assistance Fund.
Youth development and empowerment remain central to Government’s development agenda. In the current financial year, we allocated significant resources, which will predominantly benefit this important demographic group:
- University of Namibia: N$926 million which amounts to 80 percent of UNAM’s budget. This does not include the tuition fees paid by students who are sponsored through Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF);
- Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund: N$962 million;
- Namibia University of Science and Technology: N$534 million. This amounts to 74 percent of NUST’s total budget, but excludes tuition fees paid by students who are sponsored through Namibia Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF);
- Namibia Training Authority: N$382 million.
Furthermore, by the 3rd quarter of this year, we will commence with the establishment of a multi-disciplinary Youth Training Center in Kavango East, while construction of a new Vocational Training Center in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West, will commence in September 2017.
We have observed that many graduates from Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centers have started their own businesses and provide gainful employment to fellow Namibians. We will therefore continue to promote the expansion and improvement of the quality of training and cooperative education through industry attachment, coaching and mentorship programmes.
One such example is the recent launch of nine constituency based Youth Enterprises, owned and managed by graduates of the National Youth Service. Similarly, through the equipment aid scheme, Government has supported local entrepreneurs, such as Mr Robbie Amadhila of Roama Gates to establish successful manufacturing businesses. (Mr Amadhila is with us here today. Could you please stand up).
A crucial aspect in the war against poverty is growing the economy. Ultimately, it is the entrepreneurs who are at the center of economic growth and job creation. The private sector remains the “engine of growth” and ultimate creator of wealth and jobs. Over the years, Government has become a key player in the Namibian economy. An economic model that is overly reliant on Government consumption and investment is not sustainable. In times of economic downturn, Government may not have the fiscal space to drive investment, causing economic activities to slow down. It is imperative that business people use their entrepreneurial flare to devise ways of injecting new capital into the economy as opposed to depending on the circulation of old capital.
We recognise the need for a stronger private sector. We made concerted efforts to engage private sector stakeholders and through these engagements we are mindful what government can do better to ensure a competitive enabling environment needed for job creation. As it is important to strengthen economic activities in all the regions of the country, we have engaged the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to lead regional business delegations from all regions for consultations at State House regarding their challenges. As a matter of fact, today we will be consulting with the business community of the NCCI Northern Branch. To further improve the business environment, a number of new laws were enacted last year, namely:
- The Namibia Industrial Development Agency Act;
- The Business Intellectual Property Authority Act; and
- The Investment Promotion Act.
During the course of last year, we embarked upon targeted investment promotion missions, to attract more private investment into the economy. The idea was not to solely secure foreign investment, but also to create networking opportunities between the local and international business communities. These marketing efforts were highly successful, resulting in oversubscribed attendance at venues abroad and at home. A number of Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Intent have been signed. Other investment proposals have been tabled and are being actively followed up by line Ministries.
These investment promotion activities by Government had the additional benefit of increasing Namibia’s visibility in global markets, as evident from positive coverage of the country by reputable media houses such as CNN, BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC Africa and others. Valuable links have also been established with renowned institutions such Harvard, Columbia University, Chatham House and future business leaders from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
An enabling legislation with the potential to attract more private investment is the Public Private Partnership Bill, which was recently passed in the National Assembly. Once promulgated, the Act will facilitate much required private investment, giving the economy an additional boost at a time of fiscal consolidation.
Despite progress made, Namibia remains one of the most unequal societies in the world and it is for this reason that we have proposed the introduction of an economic empowerment framework. Public consultations on the Framework have been completed and the Office of the Prime Minister has consolidated the report, which will soon be tabled in Cabinet.
However, I have followed public discussions on this matter and have observed that while NEEEF maybe imperfect, most commentators are avoiding the inequality question wherein NEEEF is located. Despite the self-regulation approach adopted in some key economic sectors, such as the mining, financial services and tourism, we have not seen significant transformation in the last 27 years of Namibia’s independence. The majority of Namibians remain structurally excluded from meaningful participation in the economy and as we established earlier, inclusivity ensures harmony and exclusivity brings discord.
Our economy is not immune to our social realities and therefore reflects and perpetuates the lack of inclusivity and social disparity at shareholding, board and senior management levels. Without deliberate policies, the economy on its own will not be able to correct for structural imbalances. This underscores the notion by Joseph Stiglitz that inequality is a choice. This is not our choice and we require the support of all Namibians to fix the obvious, and dangerous, flaws in our social structure.
There are similarities between the redistribution of land and wealth, which have both become emotive but topical issues. I therefore believe that just as we have decided to engage in a second national dialogue on the land question, we may consider doing the same on inequality, where we can better examine the market place of ideas. Namibia has the advantage of enjoying positive race relations which lends itself for a frank, difficult and necessary conversation on the solutions to reduce inequality.
Namibia has the opportunity to lead and set the model on how to redress wealth redistribution in a pragmatic, sustainable and orderly manner and I have no doubt that we will rise to this challenge.
I would like to once again call on the private sector to – as a minimum contribution – consider Employee Share and Home Ownership Schemes. It is disheartening when workers, some of whom may have worked for as much as 40 years for the same employer, only receive a long-service award upon retirement.
The plight of farm workers is an issue close to my heart and the deplorable conditions that many of them face compels all farm owners to take a moment and re-examine their sense of humanity. Many farm workers are working under slave like conditions. This is not acceptable in a free Namibia, which prides itself on upholding the values of human dignity and decency.
The third Pillar of Social Progression, addresses the pertinent twin challenge of poverty and income inequality, complementing our efforts to drive economic transformation as outlined in Pillar Two. We simply cannot build a society where poverty and inequality are growing.
For this reason, we have taken drastic steps to reduce poverty and have made significant progress to date. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), within a period of 22 years we have reduced poverty from a baseline of 70 percent in 1994 to 18 percent in 2016. Moreover, the food poverty rate declined to 5.8 percent in 2016. The rapid reduction in poverty over 22 years gives confidence that we will be able to eradicate poverty in Namibia by 2025, as envisaged in our poverty eradication blueprint.
Namibia is a semi-arid country and one of the driest countries in the world. With climate change, rainfall is expected to become increasingly unpredictable. Rainfall has been significantly below the annual average over the past four years, resulting in one of the worst droughts in recent history. Most of our people derive their livelihood from subsistence and communal agriculture and the consequences of sustained water shortages will have devastating effects on our economy.
This year, we were fortunate to receive good rainfall in most parts of the country. We are grateful and thank the Almighty for showering us with His blessings. We are however, required to dramatically reduce our usage of water and optimise agricultural outputs.
The Namibian Government has always been responsive to the needs of our citizens during emergency situations. Last year was no exception. In total, N$495 million was allocated towards drought and emergency relief, of which N$402 million was spent on food provision and N$93 million on water provision, seed and livestock marketing incentive claims. In total, 560 thousand Namibians benefitted from drought relief assistance through the distribution of the following items:
- 3 million bags of maize meal;
- 50 thousand bags of rice;
- 63 thousand bags of Mahangu; and
- 2 million cans of tinned fish.
We can also be proud of the fact that despite being a developing country, we managed to fully fund these drought relief activities from domestic resources. Some development partners supplemented our efforts and we thank them for their kind assistance.
Namibia is not referred to as the ‘land of contrasts’ for nothing. This year, we are confronted with an unprecedented flood situation affecting many parts of the country. In addition, commando worms have decimated many maize and millet fields. That crop fields were ravaged even before the crops were ripe for harvest, is disheartening. Let us, however not become discouraged but instead display the resilience that led to us to being called ‘the land of the brave’. The Government stands ready to provide necessary assistance to flood victims, as has been the case in the past. As ordinary citizens, let us also assist wherever we can to ensure that we overcome another difficult agricultural year.
We will work hard this year to accelerate food security at a household level, especially through subsistence and communal agriculture. To achieve this, we will:
- Gradually increase provision of tractor and ploughing services during rainy seasons;
- Increase provision of seeds and other farming implements required to enhance productivity; and
- Aggressively promote controlled farming.
Namibians should be able to produce food throughout the year and not only during the rainy season. Some countries that are drier than ours export food, through the use of controlled farming. We do have young Namibian entrepreneurs like Peter Kawana and Ally Angula who have ventured into this critical area. We commend them and others like them for their contribution towards food security in Namibia. If we aim to become self-sufficient and drought resilient, we have to move with the times and embrace technology and innovation in agriculture.
The food bank initiative, which is being piloted in 7 constituencies in the Khomas region, is one of the key measures that were rolled out to arrest hunger poverty. About 19 thousand households or roughly 80 thousand Namibians receive monthly food parcels. The testimonies we receive from some of these beneficiaries are simultaneously heart wrenching and heartwarming. In some instances, as many as 18 individuals in one household benefit from the food parcels. Kuku Lavinnia Johannes (68 years old) and Kaikaria Tjuine (56 years old) (who are seated in the gallery) testify that this support has saved their families from starvation, as without it, they would not have had sufficient food to last to the end of the month. Nutritional support is particularly important for the health of the elderly, school going and the chronically ill. The urban food aid initiative is making a real difference in the daily lives of fellow Namibians.
Pending the outcome of the Impact Assessment Report in piloted areas, we plan to extend the food bank programme to other urban and peri-urban centers outside the Khomas region, later in the year. We are very conscious that in the long run, the food bank cannot be rolled out to all regions and constituencies. For this reason, we will explore other methods of food distribution, including subsidized farming inputs, as well as the revised Basic Income Grant, with the primary aim of reducing transactional costs.
Another immediate action taken to arrest poverty was the increase in the old age social grant, which was increased for the second time last year, to reach N$1,100 per month. As promised, it was further increased to N$1,200 this year, representing a 100 percent increase over the past three years. This increase has had a huge and positive impact on poor families across Namibia, as is evident from the outpouring of positive testimonies that we continue to receive. Grandparents can now afford to buy school shoes for their grandchildren to walk to school in dignity. Elderly people can now meet their basic needs and afford modest luxuries like airtime and basic mobile phones which help them to be accessible to family and friends.
Over and above the old-age social grant, where coverage increased from 159 thousand in 2015 to 164 thousand beneficiaries in 2016, Government administers other equally important grants, which play a huge role in stemming poverty. These include:
- Grants to people with disabilities, where coverage increased from 35 thousand in 2015 to 39 thousand in 2016;
- Grants to orphans where coverage increased from 204 thousand in 2015 to 285 thousand in 2016; and
- Grants to war veterans benefitting 15 thousand veterans;
Another strategy to arrest hunger poverty is the school-feeding programme. Last year alone, Government spent N$104 million on the school feeding programme, reaching 320 thousand school going children. This initiative will continue this year. After all, our children are Namibia’s future and we must do everything in our power to prevent malnutrition, which contributes to stunted growth.
For this year, we have allocated a total of N$6.3 billion or 10 percent of the total budget, towards various social grants. This naturally presents a long-term challenge, as it will not be sustainable for so many of our people to depend on Government support for their livelihood. That is why we continue to hold the view that the fight against poverty requires multifaceted strategies and tactics.
In the longer-term, we believe a high quality education with strong technical component will empower our people to become economically emancipated and break free from the poverty trap. It will also entail reforms in the economic sectors, such as intensified efforts to expand the manufacturing capacity of the economy, by improving the business environment and availability of risk capital.
One of the main challenges facing Namibia is income disparity. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, the income of the top 1 percent Namibians, is equal to the combined income of the bottom 50 percentile. This situation is not sustainable and underscores the need for the introduction of a Wealth Tax.
As alluded to, related to this disparity is skewed land distribution in our country. During the third quarter of this year, we plan to engage in dialogue on land at the second national land conference. The emotive and complex issues surrounding land reform require a sincere but difficult conversation. As we prepare for this important dialogue, I urge stakeholders to prepare and submit considered and evidenced based proposals to enrich the discussions.
Land should be one of our most productive assets. The land question should therefore not be confined to redistribution, but also take into account the need to increase agricultural productivity. As such, the underlying concerns regarding under-utilisation of agricultural land must be addressed. As we approach the second land conference, the question of how to unleash the full potential of land, should be central to the discussion. Other issues that require thorough attention and consideration should include:
- The implementation status of the resolutions of the first land conference;
- What has worked and what has not?
- Where and how we should improve?
- Emerging issues and how we shall resolve them.
Similarly, we must also not shy away from talking about sensitive topics such as:
- The willing-seller, willing-buyer principle;
- Ancestral land claims and restitution;
- Land expropriation in the public interest, as provided for in our Constitution;
- Urban land reform, and
- The Veterinary Cordon Fence/Red Line.
We are aware that the current resettlement process has many challenges. It is for this reason that I have, for a long time, been advocating for cooperation between retired commercial and emerging farmers. More specifically, it is my vision that these two groups will team up in partnerships where, the former will teach the latter about all technical aspects of farming, including management techniques. This could be done in the form of a management company, where both the retired and resettled farmers are shareholders. Agribank’s mentoring program for emerging farmers operates within the spirit of this vision and I encourage all established farmers to consider participating in formal or informal mentoring initiatives.
Armed with valuable skills and knowledge, resettled farmers could be encouraged to gradually assume management control while the retired farmers exit the company. Resettled farmers could then form cooperatives to better participate in the agricultural supply chain. This will be highly beneficial for our country and a significant step towards our shared prosperity.
As far as the land question is concerned, let me make it clear that we do not have to fight each other. I honestly believe that we are on the same page as far as the objective of land reform is concerned. We may however disagree on the modalities of how to achieve this objective. How can anyone think that the SWAPO led Government will be against Namibians owning land? SWAPO fought for the Independence of Namibia in order for Namibians to decide on our own destiny, including issues around land.
Nations go to war when dialogue fails. In our democracy, we have sufficient room for frank and open dialogue. There is no reason for us to compromise our hard fought for Independence by fighting one another over issues that can be revolved through constructive dialogue.
Finally on the land question, let us be reminded that we are enjoined by our Constitution to be fair. All those born in Namibia are Namibians, irrespective of race or colour and are entitled to own land legally.
When approaching the land issue, we will not condone lawlessness. Settling on any land without permission is against the law and land grabbing will certainly not be tolerated. This includes those who erect illegal structures on un-serviced land and then demand for municipal services. This derails development plans, diverts resources and prejudices those who have been waiting patiently on formal waiting lists. The reality is that cities are planned and while we are cognizant of rapid urbanization which affects all African countries, we need to approach this topic within the realities of our limited national budgets.
Another Government priority is the delivery of serviced urban land, housing and sanitation. I am pleased to report that we have made good progress with servicing residential land, especially in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Outapi and Oshakati. In Windhoek, we are also making progress, albeit at a slower pace. In total, 7,754 plots have been serviced countrywide, surpassing the annual target of 6,000.
Similarly, 5,554 houses were completed nationwide, in Year One of Harambee, exceeding the annual target of 5,000 houses. Unfortunately, some houses remain unoccupied for too long due to the bureaucratic process involved in the transfer of ownership of land. We are following up on those cases and working with the partners to expedite the process.
The good progress recorded with respect to the delivery of serviced residential land and housing would not have been possible, without the involvement of Harambee partners such as the municipalities, GIPF, Development Bank of Namibia, Namibia Housing Enterprise, Shack Dwellers Federation, with support from its partners, the Built Together Programme and private property developers. I thank them all. This is the Spirit of Harambee, alive and at work.
On the other hand, progress with regard to the elimination of the bucket system has been less than satisfactory. However, we now have a better understanding of the scope of the problem. An assessment this year shows that 2,367 households are still using this system. 780 households have been identified in the Hardap and //Kharas regions where construction work has already commenced to replace this system. I have directed the implementing OMAs to step up delivery of this essential social need and ensure that by the end of this year, we eliminate this demeaning system from Namibia.
Our efforts aimed at increasing access to education are paying off. Enrollment numbers at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels have increased significantly, in part due to the full abolition of school development fund fees, textbook costs and the amendment to the Grade 10 repetition policy.
Going forward, we will continue to focus on improving the quality of teaching and renovating dilapidated education facilities. With regard to the latter, the Ministries of Education, Arts and Culture and Finance are directed to investigate feasibility of an Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Improvement Programme, to be funded through project finance, for Cabinet approval within the next 90 days.
This year, we will also pay more attention to the importance of sport in creating opportunities for young people. As a first step, the Minister is directed to conclude the amendment of the Sports Act and review of the Sport Policy, with the aim to define and prioritise the national sport codes to guide funding and development. This is to be done within the second quarter of this year.
I would like to commend the Minister of Health for the significant improvements that have taken place in the health sector during the past two years. The number of service related complaints at public health facilities have generally decreased, waiting times have reduced and there is a widespread public appreciation that the health sector is moving in the right direction. The story of community health workers walking door-to-door to assist with the early detection of health complications is commendable. To amplify, I would like to allude to the experience of Sesilia Hausiku from the Kilimanjaro informal settlement in Windhoek, who started to receive visits from community health worker Martha Kambiru, since she was six months pregnant.
As a result of this intervention, Sesilia was referred to the hospital on time and gave birth to healthy twins, without complications. [I am pleased that Mrs. Hausiku is here with us today. Could you please stand up. I thank you for being here.]. This speaks to our target of reducing maternal and infant mortality as envisaged in HPP.
The improved turnaround times at the Ministry of Health and Social Services indicate that Government entities can develop a culture of high performance. Our expectation for the health sector is to gradually shift focus to quality of care and attitude of health workers. To further improve delivery, we also expect e-Health services with online patient-records and pharmaceutical-dispensing systems to go live in September 2017. In the same vein, we commend the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration for the improved turnaround times and service delivery, in the issuance of national documents.
Let me now turn to the Fourth Pillar which deals with Infrastructure Development.
Competitive infrastructure is the backbone of our economic development. One of our key value propositions to investors has always been the quality of Namibia’s physical infrastructure. Investors look for reliable and affordable water, electricity and functional distribution networks. Infrastructure is also a crucial catalyst in uplifting the living standard of our people. Our dream is that each and every household and community in Namibia should have access to potable water, electricity, modern roads, telephony and banking services.
To avert a full-scale water shortage in the central areas of the country, a Cabinet Committee on Water Supply Security was established. Key responses included among others:
- The drilling and equipping of 16 diameter wide and deep boreholes in the Windhoek area and linking them to the supply network.
- The acquisition and installation of emergency pumping equipment at both Von Bach and Swakoppoort Dams, to be able to extract water from below the normal dead storage levels.
- The installation of pumps in the old Kombat and Berg Aukas Mine shafts near Grootfontein and linking them, over a distance of 500 kilometers, to the Von Bach Dam.
- Large volumes of water were transferred in this manner to central areas, since August last year, ensuring that taps did not run dry in the Nation’s capital.
- A water saving target of up to 40 percent was achieved through Demand Management campaigns and behavioural change among consumers.
Going forward, focus will shift to securing long-term water supply, by way of:
- Upgrading and expanding existing national water carriers;
- Tapping of perennial water sources;
- Improved desalination capabilities and capacity; and
- The completion of the Neckartal dam.
When we targeted zero load shedding under HPP, it seemed a tall order. Today the electricity supply situation in Namibia has improved significantly, owing to the inclusion of renewable sources into the national energy mix. We have also gazetted net-metering rules and are delighted to see that a number of bigger firms have already invested in rooftop solar installations, to generate power and benefit from this initiative.
With regard to port development, the Walvis Bay Port expansion project is on track.
The expansion of our bitumen road network is also progressing well, with a total of 463kms added to the national road network.
The HPP has set a target of 526kms of specific roads to be upgraded to dual carriageway, ‘2 plus 1’ or bitumen over the Harambee period. In Year One a total of 159kms were completed, which represents a completion rate of 30 percent and suggests this target is attainable over the remaining period of three years.
Progress was also made with the rehabilitation of our national railway system. 6 new locomotives and 90 fuel tankers have been commissioned. Going forward, focus will be on upgrading the railway tracks on the basis of PPPs.
Before I turn to the fifth Pillar on international relations and co-operation, I would like to re-emphasise that Peace and stability are the condio sine qua non for development and progress. For this reason, we must continue to place the highest premium on maintaining a strong social fabric where all our people live in harmony.
We must combat the rising level of crime and lawlessness, because they have no place in our society. Our law enforcement agencies, parents, schools, church and community leaders must do their part to shield our young people from the social evils of substance abuse and vagrancy.
We must do all that we can to educate our people in order to defeat the scourge of gender-based violence by addressing the root causes. All vulnerable members of our society deserve protection.
Now I turn to the fifth and final Pillar, of International Relations and Cooperation.
Namibia does not exist in a vacuum. We occupy a distinct position and assume our role in matters affecting the global village, in which we all co-exist. Our very existence as a nation came about because of our own struggle, supported by the world under the auspices of the United Nations, which midwifed a free and sovereign Namibia. We therefore are and will remain, a child of international solidarity.
Accordingly, one of the strategic priorities undertaken during 2016 was the review of our foreign policy, with intent to develop a new policy titled the international relations and cooperation policy. As I had said at the time, “we are together on this planet as human beings”.
The challenges we face are not nation specific but rather species specific. These challenges include how to deal with the potentially devastating effects of climate change, conservation of endangered plant and animal species and the attainment of our common sustainable development goals. It is for this reason that Namibia is amongst the first few countries to ratify the new Climate Accord.
Namibia stands ready to work with all the Nations of the world, in the pursuit of our lofty ideals of a world free of poverty, a world where we all live together in peace and a world characterised by equity, equality and harmonious coexistence, between human beings and nature.
One of the central tenets of our International Relations is that we are a friend to all and an enemy to none. I have taken oath to defend the sovereignty of our Nation and her borders, which we will defend and protect unequivocally.
Testament to the principle of friend to all enemy to none, is the number of bilateral and multilateral relationships we have developed since Independence. We are well represented at our Diplomatic Missions around the world. Similarly there are many countries that have established Diplomatic Missions in Namibia. Further evidence of our excellent standing in the international community is the number of congratulatory messages we received during the recent celebration of our 27th Independence Anniversary.
These included those from the Secretary General of the United Nations and countries in Africa (Angola and Zimbabwe); Asia (China and India); the European Union Commission and Russia; Central America (Cuba and Mexico) and North America (Canada and the United States) and the United Arab Emirates, to name but a few.
As I have said before, no country can exist in isolation. Genuine globalisation is good for small states and economies like Namibia. We are therefore concerned about protectionist tendencies that have started to reemerge following the global economic downturn. We are not in favour of a uni-polar, bi-polar or even a tri-polar world. Just like one requires checks and balances at national level, we equally require countervailing forces at the global level to keep the world stable. The only way this can happen is if nation States truly embrace multi-lateralism like Namibia has done.
However, even in the context of a multilateral system it is important to foster higher levels of trust. This cannot happen when most members of the global community sit on the periphery, while only a few sit at the main table. It is not right that only a few members are permanently represented at the United Nations Security Council and on top of that have veto rights.
We therefore continue to call for the urgent reform of the United Nations, to make it more democratic and transparent. In particular and in line with the Common Africa Position, Africa should have at least two permanent seats at the United Nations Security Council with veto power.
Namibia and Africa share a common destiny. The Frontline States and our African brothers and sisters from other parts of the continent stood by us in true solidarity during our national liberation struggle. We will continue to work together to overcome the common challenges with a shared commitment to achieve Agenda 2063. Furthermore, Namibia has joined the African Union Peer Review Mechanism, through which we will be able to share experiences and draw valuable governance lessons from fellow African states.
Allow me to single out the enormous contribution made by two of Namibia’s closest allies, namely the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Cuba towards Namibia’s freedom and independence. For many years, Angola was not only home to thousands of Namibians in exile, it was the main rear base from where our armed struggle was planned and waged.
As for Cuba, no other country outside Africa has contributed as selflessly as Cuba has, to the attainment of our freedom. We will forever cherish this true solidarity. The Cubans never came to plunder and take away our resources. They only came to assist and requested nothing in return. I was deeply honoured last year to pay tribute to their fallen hero Comandante En Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz.
We are pleased by the steps taken by former President Obama to normalise Cuban American relations. We hope that the new US Administration will build on those efforts and abolish all vestiges of the blockade against Cuba.
Our relationship with Germany remains cordial and Germany is one of our biggest development cooperation partners. Through our Special Envoy Dr. Ngavirue, the Namibian Government continues to engage the Federal Republic of Germany in order to resolve the long outstanding issue of the genocide.
I would like to use this opportunity to say something about Namibia’s relationship with China, which has dominated media coverage in recent months. Our relationship with China is not built on personalities. It is a State-to-State relationship spanning many decades and based on the principles of mutual respect and trust. Namibia and China are “all weather friends” and we subscribe to their characterization that our relationship must be “win-win”.
Just like Namibia does not condone illegal behaviour of her citizens in other countries, Chinese authorities have assured us that they too do not condone the illegal conduct of their citizens abroad and have made it clear that Namibian laws must take their course for those who make themselves guilty of legal transgressions. The two countries stand together in fighting corruption and criminal activities as well as condemning xenophobia and intolerance. We would also like to reiterate that we fully support the one China policy.
Our relationship with other countries, including the United States of America, the European Union and respective members, Russia, India and South Africa, have been equally outstanding. Just recently we witnessed the visit of former President George W. Bush, who visited Namibia in his private capacity. We hope our relationship will continue to strengthen with the new Administration.
We are mindful that there are still people in the world who do not enjoy their full rights. According to the United Nations, rights denied to anyone undermine the rights accorded to everyone. As a people that have been fully supported by the whole world during our liberation struggle, except for Portugal under the Salazar dictatorship, Israel and apartheid South Africa, we cannot keep quiet when human rights are denied to some. In the words of Kwame Nkrumah, a Nation has to be sovereign to determine its own future. Freedom is therefore non-negotiable. Namibia sympathises with nations denied their right to self-determination.
The Kingdom of Morocco has been one of the countries which supported Namibia’s quest for freedom and self-determination. We thank them for that. In the same vein, Independence should not be divisible and we insist that the same rights be extended to the people of Western Sahara.
We welcome the admission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the African Union. We expect the Kingdom to fully abide by the provisions of the AU Constitutive Act, in particular with regard to the principle of self-determination and not to use their influence to oust Western Sahara from the African Union.
The Palestinian question falls into the same category. We understand and sympathise with the people of Palestine, because we have been in the same position. I vividly recall how the PLO and SWAPO sat together at the United Nations, as observers. Today, Namibia is a full member. We want to see the day when the State of Palestine will also be accorded full status to the United Nations.
In this regard, we fully support a two state solution, as we believe that Palestinians and Israelis can co-exist in peace and security. At the same time, all parties in the regions should guard against what I call ‘discontinuity of the revolution’. We would like to see a situation where these liberation movements extend their engagements beyond diplomatic efforts alone and reach out to the broader civil society and progressive forces around the world.
The foundation of the Namibian House is secure with prospects for economic recovery and increased growth. This will place Namibia on a trajectory to meet our Prosperity goals.
During the past year, we faced a number of challenges as a nation. These include the devastating drought and adverse global economic headwinds, diminishing levels of public trust and the impact of unemployment. We understand your anxieties. We have, however not succumbed, but stayed on course.
Today our fiscal situation has stabilised and although there are uncertainties, the future is promising. We continue to make inroads against the scourge of poverty as reflected in improved social indicators. We continue to wage war against corruption. We continue to channel the bulk of our resources into the social sectors of education, health and housing.
Progress reviews confirm that our Plan is working. Going forward, into this year and beyond, we must rededicate ourselves to the implementation of our Plans. We must do this with a sense of urgency and in a ‘business unusual’ manner.
We will continue with implementation of HPP and in addition, we will launch the Fifth National Development Plan, which will outline additional policies, strategies and actions to propel the nation closer to Vision 2030.
Our goals and aspirations are attainable. We see a brighter and prosperous future for Namibia. Therefore, we will not, we shall not, and we must not relent in the pursuit of our goals.
In peroration, I would like to remove my hat as the Head of State and address you as a fellow Namibian. The son of a farm worker. The father of an unemployed graduate. A responsible family man. My love for this country is what drove me into exile. It is what keeps me awake at night agonizing about challenges. It is what drives me during the day, to find solutions to these challenges. I represent the sum total of our collective hopes and fears. I see the threats and savour the opportunities. Let me assure you as a fellow Namibian, our problems will never exceed our immense potential.
Putting back my hat as the Head of State, I would like to affirm that the Namibian House is stable. The Namibian House is resilient. The Namibian House is secure.
Long live the Republic of Namibia
Long live the People of Namibia
I thank you.
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE GEINGOB,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA, ON THE
OCCASION OF THE 27th INDEPENDENCE DAY
MARCH 21, 2017
Comrade Nickey Iyambo, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia;
Your Excellency, the Father of the Namibian Nation and
Revolution, Comrade Sam Shaﬁishuna Nujoma;
Your Excellency, the second President of the Republic of
Namibia, Comrade Hiﬁkepunye Lucas Pohamba;
Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation;
Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly;
Your Honour, Chief Justice of the Republic of Namibia;
Madam First Lady;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers in attendance;
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Distinguished Service Chiefs;
Leaders of Political Parties;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Speech by HE Hage Geingob 27th Independence Day
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS BY HIS EXCELLENCY
DR HAGE G. GEINGOB, PRESIDENT
OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
FEBRUARY 17, 2017
- Director of Ceremonies;
- Comrade Nickey Iyambo, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia;
- Your Excellency Comrade Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation;
- Your Excellency Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, Second President of the Republic of Namibia;
- The Right Honourable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia;
- Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation;
- Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly;
- Honourable Margaret Mensah- Williams, Chairperson of the National Council;
- Madam Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia;
- Your Worship Peter Shivute, Chief Justice;
- Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament;
- Your Excellency, Mr. Mr. Manuel Alexandre Duarte Rodrigues, Ambassador of the Republic of Angola and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
- Your Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of International Organizations accredited to the Republic of Namibia;
- Distinguished invited Guests;
- Senior Government officials;
- Ladies and Gentlemen;
Greetings to you all.
I always say that Namibia is a Child of International Solidarity, midwifed by the United Nations; a friend to all and enemy to none; unless our friendship is misused.
Welcome to the portal of the Namibian House, a house in which we hold hands and pull together in same direction, in the spirit of Harambee. We are always pleased to open our doors to our international friends and partners. We believe that fostering strong international relations and cooperation is intrinsic to global peace, stability and development. Namibia has benefited tremendously from its relations with the international community and we plan to continue our partnership with the rest of the world, in the spirit of Harambee.
We are building a Namibia House that is defined by the harmonious coexistence of all ethnicities, tribes and races, a House where no one shall feel left out. It is a house in which we all hold hands, pulling together in one direction in the spirit of Harambee It is a house reinforced by a strong constitution. It is a house built on the cornerstones of democracy, unity, peace, stability and the rule of law.
Namibia is part of a larger House. A House we call Africa. Our African Home is equally built on a strong foundation, the AU Constitutive Act. It is a Home in which the African people are aspiring to pull together in the same direction towards prosperity in the spirit of Harambee, guided by the torch of Pan Africanism and the hopes of a better future as encapsulated in Agenda 2063.
We are also part of an even larger House, although ironically we call it the Global Village. It is a village where the people of the world aspire to live harmoniously under the United Nations Charter. It is a village where we must all pull together in one direction in the spirit of Harambee, in order to pursue our dream of a better world; a world devoid of conflicts, a world devoid of pandemic outbreaks, and a world characterized by shared and sustainable development. We are guided towards these aspirations by the United Nations Development Sustainable Goals which is our compass, as we navigate towards a better world.
Director of Ceremonies,
Bill Boyers once said “democracy can only work when people claim it as their own”. Therefore, democracy cannot be sold. It must rather be born out of a collective will and desire of the people. In Namibia, we have such democracy. The Namibian democracy was born out of a long and bitter struggle for Independence, which subsequently led to the embracing of reconciliation and national unity. Likewise, in the African House, Africans must define and take ownership of our own democracy, based on our narrative, as well as our divergent themes.
We call on the world to join us in a new democratic dispensation, where all the people of the world truly own and partake in global democracy. We need a world in which no one feels left out. We need a world where there are checks and balances and a world where unilateralism, binarism and trilateralism are shunned in favour of multilateralism. That is the global condition we should aspire towards, because at present Africans are feeling left out. I hope that this year we will ignite the stalled negotiations concerning Africa’s rightful pursuit for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. As Africans we do not want to feel excluded any longer.
Director of Ceremonies,
We are aware that there are outstanding issues that as a country we need to address. That is why we have commenced this year with an emphasis on rededication. We are rededicating ourselves to the intrinsic principles of the Namibian people and the core principles of our country. We are rededicating ourselves to dealing with all impediments to our developmental goals, one of these, which is the land issue.
Given the fact that land is an emotive issue and in the interest of maintaining the unity of our Namibian House, I announced this week, at the first Cabinet Meeting and the Opening of Parliament, that the tabling of the Land Bill will be postponed in favour of a National Dialogue, at which land issue will be discussed with a view to a practical solution. As I said when announcing this decision, the land issue needs a collective approach, considering the sensitivities involved, since if not handled properly, it could lead to instability.
The saying goes that it is difficult to build but easy to break down. It is even more difficult to rebuild something good that has been destroyed. We just need to look at the Middle East, where Governments and countries were destroyed on the premise of ushering in better systems, but the reality is the complete opposite. We must take cognizance of the fact that in the global village, what is happening in a particular house is never merely a domestic issue, since it carries international ramifications.
It is therefore important that we join hands to tackle issues such as income inequality, as coupled with land, is one of the major reasons that cause conflict and the subsequent migration of human beings, as they seek a better life elsewhere. Indeed income inequality is a global phenomenon and it is on the rise in several countries. In Namibia, we are committed to tackling this issue and we ask that all stakeholders; Government, Private Sector and our international partners should join hands in ensuring that the scourge of poverty and income inequality is curtailed and eventually eradicated.
Director of Ceremonies,
As a Child of International Solidarity, we cannot be inconsiderate to the needs of those whose rights to self-determination are still unjustly denied. We therefore call on the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions on Western Sahara so that like all of us, the people of Western Sahara can enjoy their inalienable right to independence and self-determination.
Similarly, the people of Palestine have also been yearning for their freedom and independence, but continue to live a refugees. In the interest of a harmonious global village and in the interest of our principled approach to global freedom and justice, we reaffirm our solidarity to the people of Palestine and call for the implementation for the relevant UN Resolutions to realize their inalienable rights to self-determination and independence.
Although we are encouraged by the recent political and diplomatic events which have led to a thawing of Cuba- USA relations, we now urge all parties to take things a step further, and display a genuine intent of goodwill and peace by working towards the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba. The embargo is contrary to international efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals targets including the right to development. It is, therefore, contrary to our aspirations of creating a more harmonious world.
Roman historian Sallust once said, “Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.” This year, let us rededicate ourselves to ensuring a more harmonious world in which no region or nation will feel left out. Let us maintain harmony so that even the smallest nations can grow, because without harmony, even the strongest and greatest nations in the world will decay.
May I now invite you all to join me in proposing a toast to the good health and personal wellbeing of Their Majesties, Their Excellencies, Heads of State and Government of your respective countries and Heads of International Organizations that you represent here in the Republic of Namibia. May 2017 be the year of peace, harmony and prosperity. Let us hold hands and march towards a world of opportunity for all.
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE G. GEINGOB,
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
AT THE OPENING OF THE 2017 LEGAL YEAR
FEBRUARY 8, 2017
SUPREME COURT OF NAMIBIA
Director of Ceremonies – Honourable Deputy Chief Justice, Petrus Damaseb;
Honourable Chief Justice, Peter Shivute;
Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi, Speaker of the National Assembly and Mrs Jane Katjavivi;
Honourable Margareth Mensah-Williams, Chairperson of the National Council;
Honourable Minister of Justice, Albert Kawana;
Honourable Attorney General, Sakeus Shanghala;
Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court;
Honourable Judges of the High Court;
Your Worship, Acting Chief Magistrate;
Members of the Legal Profession,
Distinguished Invited Guests,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to join you here this morning to mark the beginning of a new legal year. We have termed this year as the year of re-dedication. It is a year in which we, as Namibians, revisit and commit once more to the ethos that have made us an exemplar of African self-governance and democracy.
In order to buttress our ability to administer justice, we have built relevant infrastructure nationwide, in line with our administration of our justice program.
We are aware that the needs in the area of infrastructure are increasing, especially in light of the handover of the administration and management of the courts to the Judiciary.
At this juncture, let me acknowledge the fact that I have received letters from the Office of the Judiciary detailing concerns with regards to the financial allocation, including ceilings applied, which could potentially hamper the functioning of the Judiciary.
Let me assure you, that we shall endeavour to always ensure that our Judiciary is able to function optimally and independently. We are committed to safeguarding our processes, systems and institutions and it is for this reason that, despite existing financial headwinds, Government, through the Ministry of Finance, will explore all possible means to ensure the allocation of sufficient resources to the justice sector, inclusive of the Judiciary, so as to ensure the continued operation of these vital institutions.
Although court buildings play a vital role in enabling our ability to administer justice, they do not compare to the most important component of our judiciary and wider justice system, which is the human component. Our judges, magistrates, judicial officers and lawyers are the sentinels that safeguard Namibia’s constitutional democracy.
I therefore call upon all of you present here today, as well as your peers around the country, to rededicate yourselves to your core mission, which is to safeguard the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, by serving your nation as the guarantors of the rule of law.
Aristotle once said, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”
We should therefore rededicate ourselves, this year 2017, to ensure that the basic rights and freedoms of the Namibian people shall never be compromised, that they shall never be separated from law and justice; and that we safeguard our nobility, as a nation and a people, committed to democracy, unity, peace, stability and the rule of law.
I therefore call on every member of the judiciary and every member of the legal profession to pursue excellence without compromise, to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice and to always maintain exemplary ethics and integrity.
Under the first pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, namely Effective Governance, we have pledged to improve performance and service delivery. It is therefore important for judicial officers and officers of the courts to display high standards of integrity, competence and impartiality in performing their functions.
In this aspect, judicial officers, court staff and lawyers must endeavor to be civil towards our court users in order to make them comfortable to approach the courts for redress without the fear of embarrassment.
It has been said that a life of total dedication to the truth goes in tandem with a life of willingness to be challenged. So expect to be challenged, as you endeavor to maintain justice, but never compromise on your core principles; for it is also said that a principle half compromised is a principle compromised.
In this regard, I urge the legal profession en masse, to look to other professions and indeed other jurisdictions and emulate the policies that they have implemented through their training and regulation in order to incorporate the principle of service to society.
Director of Ceremonies,
While on the subject of principles, and in the interest of truth, I wish to digress slightly, in order to shed light on a particular matter. As many of you are aware, in 2015, I publicly declared my assets, together with my wife, in conjunction with the audit firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.
In the declaration, I listed all companies from which I attain proceeds, including Africa Rising.
Africa Rising was part of a Joint Development project on the plot in Windhoek, which is jointly owned by my former wife and me. Following our divorce, we put the plot on the market with the intention to share the proceeds of the sale on a 50/50 basis, as per our accrual agreement.
The offer was open to all bidders and even Old Mutual showed interest, however the deal fell through at a later stage. It was at this stage that Mr. Jack Huang offered to partake in a co-development of the property.
Several weeks ago, I approached my lawyer to advise him that I want to sell our family shares in this joint development, in order to avoid the witch-hunt.
A decision which I am seriously contemplating at the present moment.
It is therefore pertinent and opportune for me, while here at the Supreme Court, the fortress of justice, to inform the nation that I took an oath to uphold the Namibian Constitution and the laws of this country. These laws should be applied firmly and fairly no matter whom they may apply to; including family, friends, “business partners” or any office bearer.
When my “friend” was arrested and spent a night in jail, there was no interference or intervention.
This is because in Namibia, we uphold the rule of law, the separation of powers and pride ourselves on the total independence of our judiciary.
Director of Ceremonies,
Let me take this moment to applaud the notable and positive initiatives which the Judiciary has implemented in order to improve the delivery of justice across the country.
I am aware that High Court Judges have taken responsibility to dictate the pace of litigation as opposed to the past when lawyers and litigants dictated this pace.
This has led to the speeding up of the finalization of cases which is highly positive and commendable indeed. However, Honourable Chief Justice, the backlog in cases is still worrisome.
It is crucial that the judiciary and all stakeholders in the justice sector work together, embracing the Harambee spirit, to ensure that there is a speedier delivery of justice to the public so that our citizens continue to have faith in our courts instead of becoming frustrated and taking the law into their own hands. I urge all stakeholders in the justice sector to ensure that your actions are always characterized by accountability and transparency. In so doing, you will maintain the people’s faith in our justice system, our Judiciary, because accountability plus transparency equal trust.
In line with Government’s intent to strengthen the quality of Namibia’s judicial systems, I am pleased to note that the newly introduced electronic litigation (e-Justice) system is fully operational at the High Court in Windhoek and the Northern Local Division High Court.
I look forward to the same system being extended to the Supreme Court soon. We cannot escape the breathtaking speed at which technology is evolving and the role it plays in our day to day lives and work. I therefore encourage the Judiciary to continue the pursuit of further incorporating technology in the administration of justice.
Director of Ceremonies,
The scourge of Gender Based Violence continues to blight our society.
Although I am encouraged by the fact that the Judiciary remains cognizant and sensitive to the evils of GBV that has besieged our communities, we must realize that we have a justice imperative to do more to protect our women and children.
There is no place for GBV in the Namibian House, and this year, all of us, men, women and children, should rededicate ourselves to ridding Namibia of all incidents of GBV and domestic violence.
I would also like to touch upon the spate of poaching and plundering of wildlife resources that have been widely reported in the media. It is important that sentences imposed for these crimes should reflect the severity and the danger such crimes pose to our nation’s natural resources and highly acclaimed conservation efforts.
I therefore call upon the legislature to send to me the necessary amendments to the relevant laws to increase the penalties, so that I sign them into law, for our courts to enforce.
We are a country that values the conservation of our natural resources, and that is why we have included it in our Constitution. Our reputation as a country committed to conservation has not gone unnoticed by the international community, with global organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund recognizing the people and government of Namibia’s achievements in communal conservancy efforts.
Let us therefore rededicate ourselves to maintaining our conservation standards by ensuring those who violate our laws receive due process and get maximum sentences they deserve.
Director of Ceremonies,
Let me turn once more to the Harambee Prosperity Plan, this time to the pillar of Economic Advancement and the sub-pillar of economic competitiveness. To grow the economy and to increase job opportunities, we need a peaceful Namibia and a judicial system that functions well. Potential investors must feel safe to invest in our country. It is therefore crucial that effective enforcement of contracts by our legal system should be an important national strategic objective.
The judiciary must continue to innovate and adopt measures which will deliver speedy and effective justice in commercial disputes. The forthcoming initiatives at the High Court level should propel us forward in this regard. Furthermore, as Government we will continue to place a high premium on the safety and security of people and their properties by strengthening our law enforcement agencies to be more efficient, responsive and confident in the execution of their duties.
Another theme covered under the Harambee Prosperity Plan is the issue of Residential Land Delivery, Housing and Sanitation. These have been identified as “sine qua non” for social progression. At the heart of this theme is the wider question of land, as viewed in the context of restorative justice.
In this regard, while the Namibian Constitution is silent on land itself, and makes direct reference on land, only in the context of Traditional Authorities and natural resources, we look to the guidance of the courts, as they construct terminologies such as property, in obtaining progressive natural justice jurisprudence to benefit future generations. In this regard, Government has decided to postpone the Land Bill and organise a National Dialogue at which the land issue will be thoroughly interrogated.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our Judiciary is not only responsible for ensuring justice within our borders but also plays a larger role in ensuring that judicial processes, systems and institutions within our region continue to remain on par with international best practices.
Let me therefore, commend our Chief Justice, who was elected as Chairperson of the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum in 2014 and has subsequently been re-elected to lead the Forum for a third consecutive term. This achievement is not only testament to the remarkable abilities of our Chief Justice, but also testament to the confidence that our fellow SADC member states have placed in the Namibian Judiciary.
I would like to conclude by revisiting my message which I delivered in marking the advent of the year 2017.
“Remember, we would not have been able to achieve the milestones we are celebrating, without your personal dedicated involvement. Neither can we realize our 2017 goals, without our rededication to the cause.”
I thank all of you for your continued commitment to managing an effective and an independent judiciary. I look forward to an exciting year ahead; a year of rededication.
I therefore wish the Judiciary and all stakeholders a successful and fulfilling 2017 Legal Year.
REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES
ANNUAL MINISTATERIAL ADDRESS TO THE FISH INDUSTRY
HO. BERNHARD ESAU (MP)
MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND MARINE RESOURCES
WALVIS BAY MUNICIPALITY HALL
17 FEBRUARY 2017