President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday snubbed hundreds of disgruntled civil servants wanting to voice their dismay about the lost millions of the Government Institutions' Pension Fund (GIPF) when he refused to receive their petition at the opening of Parliament.
The Police turned back at least 700 peaceful protesters, blocking them at the Zoo Park in Independence Avenue and marching them to GIPF House where a press officer from State House was sent to pick up the petition. He had to leave empty-handed.
"It is a sign of no respect," Adeline Black, chairman of the Public Service Committee, said about refusing to hand over the petition. The workers will march again, she said, insisting that Pohamba should personally accept their grievances.
Albert Kawana, Minister of Presidential Affairs, told The Namibian that Pohamba yesterday attended Parliament to "carry out a constitutional function" and that there was "no additional point to the agenda".
In his opening speech Pohamba said "our Parliament should not be seen as a distant institution which is far removed from the daily struggles of ordinary Namibians".
"Rather, it should always be positioned as a relevant and visible reality in the lives of the people. This is the essence of democracy and it should be deepened to make our Parliamentary democracy more meaningful to the nation," he said.
The new audit Cabinet had ordered into the unlisted investments made through the GIPF's Development Capital Portfolio (DCP) has already been handed over to the President.
Reliable sources have indicated that this audit confirms the findings of a 2006 audit into the DCP which the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) had commissioned. That audit found that much of the N$661 million the DCP dished out in unlisted investments before it was shut down in 2004 went to well-connected businessmen without valid security. Millions were written off in the process.
It is unclear whether Cabinet has discussed the outcome of the new audit.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula yesterday referred The Namibian to the "Cabinet Secretariat".
Kawana said Namibians should be "patient" and that Information Minister Joel Kaapanda would inform the media at "an appropriate time".