By Prince Kurupati
The Namibian Presidency recently issued a harsh response to Al Jazeera following a report by Al Jazeera’s I-Unit investigation section which implicated the President in corrupt practices. The Namibian Presidency said the report amplified ‘petty’ issued with the sole aim of blemishing the ‘reputation and record’ of the President.
On April 2, 2021, Al Jazeera’s I-Unit published a report titled, “Namibian President caught in new fishing corruption allegation”. In its investigations and subsequently the penning of the report, Al Jazeera’s I-Unit worked together with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
The report inferred that Namibian President Dr. Hage G. Geingob was a beneficial of corrupt proceeds during the Fishrot scandal which rocked the country almost a year back. it went on to state that no significant action was taken against some of the implicated individuals and the President himself was still to this present day benefiting from corrupt proceeds in the same fishing industry.
As soon as the report was released, the Namibian Presidency department promptly issued a harsh reply which questioned Al Jazeera’s I-Unit as well as the OCCRP’s motive behind the report. In the statement released on the Namibian Presidency official FaceBook page, Namibia said the report aims at blemishing the “reputation and record” of the President “crafted over decades of public service, including as freedom fighter for the liberation of Namibia, Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, founding Prime Minister and now as the third President.”
The statement went further stating that the report is nothing but a “mere collection of petty and sensational inferences that have nothing about a popularly elected President.”
In respect to the allegations that the President benefitted from the proceeds of the Fishrot scandal and was lackadaisical in handling the issue with a firm hand, the statement did highlight several instances where President Geingob issued several statements in respect to the Fishrot Scandal as well as the actions taken by the President meant at reforming the fishing industry “for greater transparency through a public declaration of fishing rights’ owners and beneficiaries, and for benefits to accrue to a larger section of Namibians.”
The statement also exposed how the President from the word go proved his no-nonsense attitude to corruption when he unilaterally “in a bold act of transparency and accountability, though not required by law… declared in 2015 publicly his assets and those of the First Lady as a solid demonstration of leading by example in the fight against corruption.” Furthermore, the report also exposed the instance where the President cancelled a tender for the construction of an airport after investigations revealed that the invoice had been inflated from 3 billion N$ to 6 billion N$.
In the concluding remarks, the statement said the Al Jazeera report was a sham attempt “to graft Africans as unable to manage their own affairs and in need of foreign stewardship.” The Namibian Presidency also stated that it was regrettable and unfortunate that the machinations by Al Jazeera’s I-Unit and OCCRP were helped in part by the help of some Namibia citizens who helplessly work “in a self-serving manner with foreign agents to undermine their own democracy, the country’s processes, systems and institutions.”