10 January 2013

Namibia: 'Geingob Can Do It' - Mudge

PRESIDENT of the Republican Party (RP) Henk Mudge yesterday said his party is in full support of Hage Geingob's election as the ruling Swapo party vice president and eventual presidential candidate in the 2014 presidential election.

Mudge and RP Member of Parliament Clara /Gowases have paid a courtesy call on Geingob some weeks before the Swapo congress where Geingob was elected as frontrunner of his party to express their support to his candidacy.

"In general, I was very impressed with the way the Swapo Party congress was conducted; I hope that the party is now more politi­cally matured and that development instead of politicking be at the order of the day. I am very posi­tive about the upcoming year," Mudge said.

Mudge, formerly the RP's representative in Parliament before he handed over the reins to /Gowases in the National Assembly, said Geingob, who went head-to-head with Jerry Ekandjo and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana for the vice-presidential position in Swapo, is the "right person" to address governance challenges and ensures service delivery in the public sector if elected president of the country in 2014.

"He [Geingob] has all the qualities needed for a president and as Prime Minister he has shown he has organisational skills. We believe he will in the presidential position be able to address issues and will be able to keep ministries accountable for what they must and must not do," Mudge said yesterday.

At the moment, Mudge said, there appears to be a lack of political will to "sort out problems" at the various ministries.

Mudge expressed the hope that the Swapo Party list of candidates for the 2014 general election would include professionals and technocrats who would be eligible for ministerial positions, instead of people being placed on the party list for their struggle credentials.

He said the fact that mini­sters and their deputies are currently being selected at parliamentary level, weakens the chances of getting "top people [competent]" in those positions.

"The time for back pay is over," Mudge stressed, but added that the current pension scheme of parliamentarians hampers the country's president to shed the public administrative system of aged and deadwood politicians.

Equally, he said, what is weakening accountability and good governance in the public sector is the fact that Permanent Secretaries, who are the accounting officers in ministries, are appointed on a permanent basis.

Instead, he suggested PSes be placed on a probation period of no less than one year, and be appointed in those positions for not longer than a three-year period.

Of grave concern, Mudge said, is the "unprecedented" levels of corruption that have erupted over the last five years "since the establishment of the ACC [Anti-Corruption Commission]".

"When last have we heard of high-profile cases? And yet the man on the street is well aware of high-level corruption. For one or the other inexplicable reason, nothing is being done," Mudge said.

Another hurdle Namibia must overcome, Mudge felt, is racial discrimination.

"We are all Namibians and we are all responsible to build up this country from grassroots level. Everyone can and wants to make a contribution towards the building of this country. We can no longer accommodate white or black racism. Namibia sits with top professionals who are peace-loving people who are not interested in conflict. We need a complete change of mind to bring about national reconciliation," he said.

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