18 March 2019

Namibia: Govt Still Paying Iyambo's Accommodation

The government is paying for former vice president Nickey Iyambo's accommodation, despite there being no law to regulate his benefits and retirement package.

Presidential affairs minister Martin Andjaba said the government made temporary interventions to accommodate Iyambo.

Andjamba made these remarks in the National Assembly on Thursday when he responded to a question by Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani, who asked how Iyambo was allowed to stay in a government house while the regulating bill was not yet in force.

A bill that is expected to be tabled in parliament soon will regulate vice presidents' benefits and retirement perks. Andjaba said Iyambo was only staying in the house "temporarily" until the National Assembly passes the draft bill.

He added that the presidency was currently drafting two bills, one that will deal with presidents and former presidents, and another to deal with vice presidents and former vice presidents. He said the government found itself in a position where they had to approve the benefits of the former vice president, although the law for such approval had not yet been passed.

Andjaba added that the same thing happened when Iyambo was sworn in as vice president in 2015 - the government approved his salary and conditions of service before introducing the regulating law in 2016.

"In the interim, arrangements were made as contained in one of the bills, with specific regard to the upkeep and security of the former vice president, pending the finalisation of the bill and passage by the National Assembly," he explained.

Andjaba stated that the National Assembly will only debate on the merits of the proposals already in force contained in the draft bill once it is tabled.

"It is what we determine in this august house which will be the basis for any dispensation which we offer current and future former vice presidents," he said.

The PDM and other opposition parties in the National Assembly have been criticising the Swapo-led government for creating the position of vice president, saying it was not needed and was a waste of public funds.

Sitting vice presidents under the presidential remuneration and other benefits' law get almost everything for free.

The perks of retired vice presidents, however, were not clarified under that law.

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