1 December 2017

Namibia: Swapo Is State-Owned


Walking through the packed Safari Hotel's parking lot over the weekend, one could not ignore the spectacle of the sleek vehicles parked there.

The area was filled with numerous government vehicles (black Mercedes-Benzes and white bakkies) as hundreds of Swapo members from across the country were attending the party's sixth elective congress.

It has now become a norm that government vehicles are used by those in public office to attend their political events.

The Namibian reported last month that Swapo members were also using government vehicles to attend party campaign rallies.

Many people argued on social media (at the time The Namibian uploaded a video of government vehicles at a campaign rally) that the use of government vehicles has become an accepted norm, and has been done in the past.

These vehicles use fuel paid for by the state. Therefore, the occupants do not pay for the fuel from their own pockets.

What is disturbing is that these vehicles were sometimes left with the engine running, which leads to high fuel consumption. This is also familiar to those who drive parliamentarians to attend National Assembly sessions, which take more than four hours at times.

Earlier this year when Moody's downgraded Namibia's economic outlook to junk, the agency cited poor fiscal controls, and leadership disputes within the ruling Swapo party ahead of and during the party's recent congress as factors contributing to the downgrade.

Supporting the recent downgrade, Fitch ratings agency also cited the Swapo congress as one of the contributing factors.

Politicians, however, criticised the ratings agencies, claiming that the party's congress would have no impact on the economy.


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