’Don’t Attribute Poverty to Swapo’

Poverty should not be attributed to Swapo but rather to historical imbalances created by the minority apartheid regime, said Swapo Party Vice-President Dr Hage Geingob.

He made the remark when he addressed a Swapo star rally in Walvis Bay on Saturday, telling Swapo supporters the ruling party is ready to continue governing and striving to narrow the gap between rich and poor by delivering economic freedom.

Speaking to thousands of supporters clad in the blue, red and green colours of the party at a jam-packed Kuisebmond Stadium during the rally which lasted about three hours, Geingob said Swapo brought political freedom and therefore it should be given a chance in its quest to deliver economic freedom as well.

“We as Swapo do not just tell stories without realising the truth. We know people are still poor. But poverty should not be attributed to Swapo, it is because of the historical situation we inherited. Blacks used to be in the Katutura’s of this country and at the same time neglected and left out of the mainstream economy, but today many young black people are doing business,” said Geingob who is the frontrunner to succeed President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

“Of course we still have a long way to go, therefore give us a chance to address the second phase of the struggle which is the economic struggle,” Geingob told the euphoric crowd in Walvis Bay which earlier this year enjoyed 20 years of reintegration into Namibia from the colonial South African regime.

“We know the gap between rich and poor is growing and that there is a big income differentiation, therefore we want to address these issues as we strive for economic emancipation. Do not disappoint us during the elections so that we can address issues such as poverty, and if we fail to deliver then you have the right not to listen to us next time we come to you,” said Geingob during his address that lasted for almost 30 minutes.

Geingob took swipe at those groups and individuals who continue to blame Swapo for failing to root out poverty. He said: “Some people in this country are just crybabies, even if it does not rain they want to blame Swapo … that is how used to they have become to crying.”

Geingob pleaded with the party’s followers and sympathisers in the Erongo Region to give the party another mandate to rule the country so that it could forge ahead with its plans to deliver economic freedom.

“Roll back the clock towards 1990, and you can see major changes in the road network, which the Swapo government effected – the tarred road network investment alone is valued at a colossal N$33.3 billion,” said the Prime Minister.

With Namibia ranked one of the countries with the lowest sanitation coverage in eastern and southern Africa a few years ago, he conceded government has serious problems in sanitation provision.

“We acknowledge we have serious problems in this area, we do not deny it. But to say that government has not done anything is simply not true. We will concentrate on this area and bring potable water and toilets to all our people in rural areas and informal settlements,” vowed Geingob.

At the time Unicef said nationally only 33 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation with significantly a lower percent (14 percent) of the rural population having improved sanitation access.

He also spoke about mass housing development, the state of education and the health sector and said government would continue investing in them.

“We know about the state of our hospitals. People sleeping with hunger and the situation of children being taught under trees, and this cannot be allowed,” he said at the rally.

The rally drew several ministers, governors, Swapo regional coordinators, deputy ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab and the Secretary to Cabinet, Frans Kapofi.

Many political experts do not foresee the ruling party losing power during the upcoming elections because of its overwhelming support, especially in the rural areas of the country.

The minority RDP, DTA, CoD and other political parties, however, remain confident they can this time around topple Swapo through the polls or at least make a dent in Swapo’s representation in the National Assembly.

New Era spoke to several Swapo supporters on what they make of the Swapo-led government’s performance since independence and what they expect should Swapo win the elections.

Anna Nangolo said she was happy with government’s performance so far and indicated she wants government to create more jobs for the youth.

Theresia Thomas was also satisfied with the work of government, but stated that she wants more jobs to be created and corruption to be rooted out.

Salomon Gaoseb said the Swapo government “did okay so far but it can do better”.

Geingob will next weekend address star rallies in the Ohangwena and Omusati regions on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Source : New Era