Young members of parliament have expressed their disappointment in President Hage Geingob’s reaction on the youth unemployment matter.
While some have labelled it as “not brave”, others have expressed that the number of recruitments for the Namibian Police or Defence Forces will not solve the issue.
Geingob, during his State of the Nation Address (SONA), last Thursday said he is worried about declaring a state of emergency on youth unemployment in the country.
However, he did admit it was a crisis that could have youth turn to terrorist activities.
Geingob also announced that the Namibia Correctional Services (NSC) has started with the process of recruiting 300 new members, while the Namibian Police will recruit an additional 1,000 personnel in 2023.
Furthermore, the Namibia Defence Force has recruited 1,470 cadets during 2022 and has made provision to recruit an additional 1,500 for the year 2023.
Speaking to The Villager, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament Inna Hengari, who widely advocated for youth unemployment to be declared a state of emergency, said the 2,800 jobs are welcomed but believes there is a much bigger crisis.
She stressed that the announced job figures are a tiny drop in the ocean.
“If you look at the labour survey of 2018, you will find that in urban areas there were over 150,000 unemployed youth. This was before Covid-19 hit, and I think a few years later given the economic circumstances, there are about 60,000 youth in Khomas region alone who are unemployed,” she pointed out.
Hengari said the Geingob administration was supposed to have had a deliberate policy that speaks to young people getting jobs in the country before the number skyrocketed.
“President Geingob has come out so many times to say young people must be job creators, the question is what has his administration done to create that enabling environment for young people to become job creators? We are talking about over 150,000 without jobs, does it mean all these people can actually be job creators and entrepreneurs,” she questioned.
She said what Geingob has been doing and saying over the years, one is left to believe that it is a political ploy.
Hengari stated that as young people they should not be satisfied with the answer of 2,800 jobs, adding that many have different fields then those being offered for employment.
“Are we saying that those who have studied medicine or education must now be employed in the security sector to become police officers and officers at the correctional service?” Hengari further wanted to know.
Meanwhile, another PDM young member of parliament Maximilian Katjimune said he is disappointed in the President’s response.
“The President was not bold enough, he was not decisive enough to declare youth unemployment as an emergency. And that speaks to what President he has been over the years,” he said.
According to Katjimune, Geingob is a President who utter a load of hot air, but when it comes to taking real decisive action, he is not brave enough to step out of his comfort zone for the betterment of young people.
“So we are very disappointed that the President was not able to declare youth unemployment a state of emergency but we will keep on relenting and putting the case to government that youth unemployment must become a state of emergency in this country because it poses a serious crisis to the stability of this country,” said the PDM parliamentarian.
“The issue is in the legislature, there was a motion tabled and it was passed by the House and it is now with the Parliamentary Standing Committee onHuman Resources and Community Development which I am part of. So it will also be in our power to table that recommendation when we table the report in parliament.”
Landless People Movement (LPM) young member of parliament Utaara Mootu shared the same sentiments.
“If you look at his trends of going out of the country looking for foreign investments, he was very much robust and he was brave to go out there to Dubai,” Mootusaid.
He said when it comes to the youth unemployment question young people donot see that bravery from Geingob.
“It shows that he is a President that does not care about the young generation. This old rhetoric that young people are the future of the country; but are we really the future of the country if we are not able to secure that future by ensuring that the unemployment issue is made a top priority by declaring it a crisis,” Mootu further said.
While young people should be number one priority, it seems the administration of Geingob does not care about them, she charged.
Mootu said although she is disappointed, she is not surprised.
“Again he has not been ensuring that young people’s issues are number one in terms of what he is championing for. He rather goes for oil deals and foreign direct investments that is probably what he cares more about.”