Namibia: Remove All Convicts From Swapo Parly List - IPPR

Government of Namibia
President Hage G. Geingob (file photo).
12 December 2019

Windhoek — The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has advised President Hage Geingob to remove all tainted politicians, including those that have been convicted but given an option to pay a fine, from the Swapo parliamentary list.

As part of the International Day of Anti-Corruption celebrated globally on 9 December, IPPR executive director Graham Hopwood said it was time to enforce zero-tolerance practices towards corruption.

"The Fishrot scandal has acted as a massive wake-up call for Namibian policymakers and society at large.

Namibians should refuse to participate in any activities that are not legal and transparent," he urged.

The Fishrot scandal implicated former ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala, as well as well-connected business people. The two ministers were forced to resign from their cabinet positions, while the Swapo polituburo also removed them from its list of members for parliament for the next five years, who will officially be sworn in next March.

They are currently in custody following their arrest several weeks ago. IPPR also recommends that Geingob institutes an official inquiry into the allocation of fishing quotas and rights and that it be headed by a judge or senior lawyer.

The IPPR says these are some of the measures needed to strengthen the fight against corruption.

The head of state has been further advised to make public cabinet ministers' declarations of interests and assets.

The IPPR furthermore wants the government to implement the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was passed more than two years ago but never operationalised, as well as commit to establishing a public beneficial ownership register for all extractive industries such as mining, oil, gas and fisheries.

The IPPR, in addition, wants Geingob to commit Namibia to joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the global standard for good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.

It also suggested to the head of state to ensure that a world-class, state-of-the-art Access to Information (ATI) law is introduced in parliament in the near future.

"Publicly declare your assets and interests once more - as you commendably did in 2015. Much more can be done to fight corruption and we all have a role to play but these are eight steps that would demonstrate a commitment in keeping with a 'zero tolerance' approach to corruption," IPPR advised Geingob.

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