LPM slams Geingob’s town hall meetings

The Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) has blasted President Hage Geingob's plan to visit each of the 14 regions between 11 July and 13 August 2019 is to review the progress on drought relief, saying it is unnecessary and wasteful.

This was said by LPM's deputy leader, Henny Seibeb at a media conference in the capital on Thursday.

Geingob, through the visits, wants to identify bottlenecks in order to scale up interventions in the said program according to an official statement issued by State House said on Wednesday.

In Seibeb's eyes, the visits epitomises a Head of State that is using state resources to achieve political ambitions.

I see this as a political campaign. It's a Swapo election drive. The President has moved away from using party machinery because there is too much infighting going on thereif he was doing these meetings as a Swapo president, there would be no problem. But the problem is campaigning under the guise of townhall meetings, using state resources, Seibeb said.

According to Seibeb, Geingob has enough subordinates at his behest that he can direct to do the said assessment and to report to him, rather than him traveling throughout the country, which is a costly exercise on the already State stretched fiscus.

The LPM leader further wants Geingob to report back the nation the resolutions that emanated from his 2015 townhall meetings.

He also asked how much, in monetary terms is reserved for the President's 14 local trips.

What we want to know is how much was budgeted for the first round (of townhall meetings) in terms of the support staff, the security personnel, the Pas, the petrol cost, accommodation, food, condoms, and all these things must be costed, Seibeb said.

He added: Namibia does not have money. He [Geingob] gave a directive to ministers not to travel at all, both foreign and inside [the country]it would have been easier [cheaper] to have the governors come to Windhoek [to report to the President], even with a live broadcast.

The Presidency has however come in defense of Geingob's upcoming meetings, arguing that he is a proactive leader with a pragmatic approach to problem-solving who believes in being on the ground to get the first-hand experience of what is working and what is not.

The Presidency also rubbished claims that Geingob's townhall meetings are a campaign ploy.

The President makes a distinction between a political campaign, which is coming later in the year. You would have read that the party electoral college is going to take place in September. So why would the President campaign now? The campaign is down the line. We have to be very clear that the time for a political campaign will come. The President will not conflate the two issues, presidential spokesperson Dr. Alfredo Hengari was quoted by New Era on Thursday.

Source: Namibia Press Agency