Politcians’ Pay Is More Than Enough [opinion]

PUBLIC Office Bearers (POBs) are either members of parliament (MPs), members of regional councils or persons appointed as such by the President. The Constitution declares POBs as servants of the people.

Reference to POBs in this article is strictly to MPs.

To ensure that these selfless patriots, tasked with the maintenance and promotion of the republican order, by performing a myriad of essential functions, including but not limited to legislating and adopting policy, are remunerated for their incredible sacrifices, there exists a commission (often mocked as a statutory glorified quasi-trade union) tasked with ensuring that POBs are remunerated, (1) relative to their responsibilities, (2) in such a manner that their earnings are not aersely affected by inflation and that their earnings conform with prevailing principles of remuneration in society.

The commission achieves this through investigations and recommendations which are subsequently forwarded to the President for determination.

In The Namibian of 9 of May 2014, in an article entitled “Salary rise for politicians”, it was reported that the said commission shall (as in 2012) soon recommend that the President increases POB remuneration. Justifying the impending recommendation to the President and in part reiterating the statutory role of the commission, the chairperson Justice Petrus Damaseb was quoted saying: “… we have achieved some measure of adequate and defensible public office bearer remuneration, we cannot … allow (POB) remuneration to lag behind.”

The above comes off the back of recent reported calls in the same daily of 27 March 2014 of POBs demanding better remuneration. The reasons, laughable at best, proffered for the demand were, quoting POB Albert Kawana, “These (we) are national leaders”, or POB Philemon Moongo, “I want to live with my dignity. We have … money”, POB Tommy Nambahu, “We (parliament) will not attract… quality”.

When consideration is given to various figures expressing current POB remuneration (e.g. an MP earning N$620,000 per annum as well as numerous other perks), however, it appears that at this juncture, POB remuneration is perhaps defensible and possibly, more than adequate.

Even with Namibia’s high and ever increasing cost of living for which POBs must shoulder the lion’s share of the blame for, one can surely comfortably get by on such a package.

One would think that perhaps, the best alternative, as challenging as it may be, would be for POBs to spend time devising means to address the country’s economic needs to render their already handsome packages more meaningful.

Otherwise, what inference other than downright greed and enrichment on the part of POBs can be drawn from their demands for higher salaries in light of the foresaid figure? And further, what inference other than social and economic alienation on the part of the commission of POBs from the overwhelming majority of the people can be drawn in light of previous and impending remuneration increase recommendations?

It is hoped that upon receipt of the recommendation for improved remuneration packages for POBs from the commission, a recommendation which is anticipated to be high, the President shall fortify the longstanding principle that the occupation

ONE VOICE: Tononoka MCA Saad Faraj (R) and his colleagues address journalists at the county assembly committee room yesterday.PhotoElkana Jacob

of public office, which is the most supreme and noble call of service to a nation and her people, is not a ticket to riches.

Source : The Namibian