We Are Sleeping On the Job – Kazenambo

SWAPO backbencher Kazenambo Kazenambo on Tuesday accused the government of failing to pay local companies and of blackmailing those who demand payment, saying ministers are sleeping on the job.

The outspoken former youth minister turned-businessman also accused ‘tenderpreneurs’ for fronting for international companies.

Kazenambo was later backed by Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi who accused tenderpreneurs of not completing his ministry’s vital projects.

Contributing to the budget debate in the National Assembly, Kazenambo said: “There are business companies, small and medium, that have not been paid for the jobs they have rendered to government since December last year. How are they going to pay their employees?” he asked.

“If you call that ministry, you are told that so and so is on leave, so and so is attending a workshop,” he added.

Kazenambo was also unapologetic towards some permanent secretaries and senior administrators in government for abusing their powers by blackmailing businesses that ask for payment.

“The powers that be are some permanent secretaries, directors and administrators. You are told by them that if you dare [ask], we are not going to give you a job [tender] tomorrow. You choose between shutting up, so that you can access a job and have problems,” Kazenambo said, accusing some senior officials in government of being middlemen in these companies.

“They are not tenderprenueurs but ‘commission-preneurs’ because they are only fighting for commission. These are middlemen, some are sitting in government offices,” he added.

Kazenambo who also criticised local businesspeople for fronting for international companies urged ‘tenderpreneurs’ to take a stand against such treatment from government administrators.

“Can the ‘commission-preneurs’ that are called tenderprenueurs wake up, shake up or shut up,” he asked before taking his seat.

A ‘tenderprenueur’ is someone who pretends to be a legitimate businessperson, using political contacts to secure lucrative government contracts for others in return for a fee. Kazenambo also hit out at the fishing industry, speaking specifically about the “unscrupulous criminal par-excellence businessmen” who mislead communities to form trusts for their personal gain. He said the businesspeople “selectively sideline the so-called community members and they will just chop [spend] the money buying X5s and Range Rovers” after they receive fishing quotas.

He questioned government’s lack of regulation and monitoring of the companies in that industry.

“None of these fishing companies that are floating around have annual general meetings where you can ask, where are the members of the trust that you included when you applied. It’s only directors and then they chop the money among themselves or divert the money to none-core projects,” he added.

Kazenambo said he and other MPs are sleeping on the job. “Our people are becoming non-participants in the great part of the economy,” he said, lobbying for a more regulated private sector.

He said the “economy is being stolen in front of us because we concentrate on a macro-economic environment while the whole economy is composed of two legs, macro- and microeconomy.”

“Do you know why this is happening, because we are sleeping on duty. I’m not targeting anybody but okay, I’m [also] sleeping on duty,” he said.

Kamwi, who is also part of the Cabinet Treasury committee, told The Namibian on Tuesday that his misgiving is that local companies are given tenders but do not complete the work as projected, leading to idle programmes. He said examples of idle projects are in Okahao, Sesfontein and Keetmanshoop.