Geingob’s Trip to Tsumkwe Explained

Tsumkwe is a dusty settlement on the north-eastern peripheries of Namibia that is usually only a permanent fixture for tom-tom navigation gadgets of tourists who throng the area to experience how the nomadic San people live.

Yet, it was this very settlement that President Hage Geingob chose to set the tone for his inaugural declaration of an all out war on poverty.

“The President selected Tsumkwe because it is the second most deprived community. The first is Epupa,” explains Dr John Steytler, the former Statistician General at Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) who now works as a consultant for the presidency as well as for NSA. Steytler says of significance during the visit was when Geingob presented the Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya as minister designated to Tsumkwe area at a national level, complementing the constituency councillors and governors, in ensuring that the pace of required development for that area is on track.

Steytler further says Geingob’s visit to Tsumkwe is a clear indication that he is serious about fighting poverty. He nevertheless cautioned against expectation of immediate poverty eradication results, saying the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta should be given time “to formulate appropriate responses to poverty,” as opposed to rushed decisions.

“Poverty is a high priority,” said Steytler, adding that a national dialogue on poverty is scheduled towards the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter.

“And the President has himself indicated that he wants to be involved in this, [with perhaps] chairing some of the sessions. This would not be a normal dialogue. It will design the best measures and form there, a timeframe would emerge,” he said.

With President Geingob having set the tone, it is now expected that Vice-President Nickey Iyambo would visit Kunene Region, while Prime Minister Sara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila would visit the northern parts of Namibia. Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will visit the south of the country.

Like with the President’s visit to Tsumkwe, the three senior officials would also be accompanied by a contingent of ministers, and each region or area would have its designated minister.

President Geingob also took to social network to explain his decision to travel to Tsumkwe saying: “I saw it fit to visit this area, accompanied by several of my Cabinet ministers. The aim was for me and my ministers and deputy ministers to meet with regional representatives including the governor, councillors, traditional authorities and government officials in order to receive comprehensive briefings on the state of affairs in the Tsumkwe Constituency and the key areas of concern where urgent intervention is needed.”

Steytler further says Geingob is earnest in his push for deprived communities such as those in Tsumkwe to feel as normal citizens of Namibia and not as “marginalised communities.”

In his post on Facebook, Geingob referred to the topic saying: “Very soon we will remove the name of ‘marginalised communities’, as ultimately all Namibians should have the same standard of living in the Namibian House where no one should be left out of development.”

“Although we cannot be ignorant of past injustices, we have to move on to better things where everyone will be treated as an equal in the Namibian House.”

“As I have said on numerous occasions, “No Namibian must feel left out.” If that is the case, then “marginalized communities” must come to an end. Marginalization must not be permanent otherwise it becomes a state of mind,” posted Geingob.

Source : New Era