Pohamba’s Last State of Nation – On His Retirement, Education, Corruption and BIG

“This time next year you will have someone new in State House. Guess who? God knows, that is all I am saying,” President Hifikepunye Pohamba said lightly off the cuff during yesterday’s State of the Nation Address minutes before the traditional question and answer session with opposition Members of Parliament, some of whom asked about his retirement plans after his presidency ends in March next year. “From the presidency I will do politics, mobilising my party, to ensure that the electorate keep voting for my party. I think with the administrative knowledge I acquired as president, I will do well to convince people. In addition, I will assist at the village to cultivate the land,” Pohamba said cheerfully.

He was nevertheless outspoken on the government’s stance on the Basic Income Grant (BIG), in response to a question posed by All People Party’s president Ignatius Shixwameni.

“To me it does not make sense to dish out money to people for doing nothing. To dish out money to people organised to do something, people who are working, that is better. It is not good to encourage people not to work. People must work,” Pohamba said giving an example of clearing land for cultivation as one of the types of work that could be performed in exchange for money.

Responding to questions on education by the president of the Congress of Democrats, Ben Ulenga, Pohamba said: “I am disappointed in education. You pump in money but the outcome is not impressive. The rate of failure is something that disappoints me, not only me, but parents. I think it is our teachers who are either reluctant to teach or are not qualified.” He also chastised MPs for not taking the lead in assisting the education ministry to find solutions to the problem.

Addressing the question of corruption, which Ulenga described as an issue that Pohamba spoke gly about when he entered the presidency but with seemingly less presidential action, Pohamba reminded MPs that it is “not for me as president to investigate corruption, or do you want me to go from house to house investigating corruption?” Pohamba nevertheless revealed that he is dissatisfied with how the society seems to condone corruption.

“I am not happy because I too suspect corruption is here with us. All we have to do is report it to the institutions set up to deal with corruption,” he said, adding that prolonged investigations drain state resources as suspended individuals continue to draw salaries while under investigation that takes years. “Investigations go on for years and nothing comes up. It is discouraging and your president is not happy with that.”

Pohamba, answering the question on urban land being expensive from Clara Gowases of Republican Party, said: “I agree with you land is expensive. Certain councils have been asked to reduce the prices, they are part of the government yet they charge so much. You say we are number four in the world for expensive land, the world is so large and we are number four. I am so disappointed that we are number four.” Gowases had referred to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index 2012 report that ranked Namibia behind Brazil, Dubai and Hong Kong at number one.

Source : New Era