Namibia: Fishrot Condemnation Grows

11 December 2019

AS Namibians count the cost of the Fishrot scandal, the crescendo of the call for decisive and incisive action grows louder.

A number of ministers and public figures are among those who have taken to social media platforms to underscore the urgency of justice being done, and being seen to be done in the interest of the country.

Amongst them was public enterprises minister Leon Jooste, who said his ministry is designing a web-based whistle-blower platform to help combat corruption.

Jooste says people will be able to upload voice notes, photographs and documents anonymously to alert the government to potential cases of corruption.

The plan is contained in a series of tweets Jooste posted on Twitter at the end of last week.

He said the ministry plans to appoint highly skilled people "with the ability to identify and investigate corruption". Jooste's seven-point tweet thread says:

Much has been said about the infamous 'Fishrot' scandal, and every single Namibian has a right to be very angry. I'm personally devastated when I consider the social, financial and reputational consequences of these actions.

- Corruption starts with two parties - one paying and the other receiving, and both are equally guilty. I often hear people saying that certain officials dealing with the public are generally corrupt. If that's true, it means that the same number of citizens are corrupt.

- I'm not saying this to turn the attention away from alleged corruption by public office-bearers, but rather to narrate that we should all have zero tolerance for corruption. There should be no difference between minor and major corruption.

- Corruption is like stealing, and whether one steals one dollar or N$1 million, it's all the same and equally wrong. I'm proud of Namibians sharing their disgust and anger, and I believe that we have the corporate ability to turn a negative experience into a positive solution.

- Our ministry will be implementing the new act very soon, and we shall expose and deal with all corruption in public enterprises by appointing highly skilled people in the ministry with the ability to identify and investigate corruption.

- Always appointing skilled board members with integrity is non-negotiable. We will also design a web-based public enterprises corruption reporting product, where whistle-blowers will be able to upload voice (notes), photographs and documents anonymously to alert us.

- Corruption is real, but we will stop it! Please share your thoughts and recommendations with me at: [email protected]

OTHER TWEETS

@TomAlweendo: The recent revelation about the plundering of our fisheries resources that is known as 'Fishrot' is reprehensible, and needs to be condemned by all of us. What makes it even more deplorable is the fact that it was perpetrated by those entrusted with public office leadership.

This is a sign that corruption in our society could be more endemic than has been acknowledged, and that we as the government and trustees of public interest need to be more vigilant. Namibia, a country with vast natural resources, is vulnerable to exploitation in other sectors.

Let us demand that the institutions responsible for holding us accountable will leave no stone unturned in their investigations, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Namibia is the only country we have, and we need to protect its interests and its people.

@CHGSchlettwein: The Al Jazeera video shows a typical case of resource looting from a developing country (Namibia) by a multinational company, with the involvement of a few highly placed and influential Namibians. It is criminal. All must be prosecuted. The process has started, must be completed.

@FoibeNamene: Corruption is one of those crimes that cannot be fought with nice words and good intentions. Namibia needs to take decisive action, and make examples of those who make themselves guilty of this evil. There are no short cuts. We must be willing to go all the way.

@allyangula: The problem in Namibia is we don't like to accept the truth as it stands in front of us. Acknowledging the truth allows one to act on it. #Corruption is systemic - our systems are slooooower due to rent-seeking across the entire system. PLEASE listen, hear, accept, and act.

@bernard_haufiku: I expect nothing but the truth, the whole truth, about this Fishrot scandal in Namibia. It's depressing to say the least.

@ndjavie2: Dear peace-loving Namibians! Unless you benefited from the corruption and money-laundering from #Fishrot, you must get out of your house, your office, your hut, or kambashu, and go into the streets to demand the resignation of these corrupt politicians. Enough is enough.

@Haipinge: Time we all look in the mirror and use #Fishrot for introspection, individually and as a nation. #Corruption starts small, and grows gradually. So, let's all evaluate our daily thoughts, actions and reactions and see how we enable, condone and partake in corruption. #IsolateCorruption

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