By: Justicia Shipena
President Hage Geingob says he is worried about declaring a state of emergency on youth unemployment in the country.
Geingob raised this concern during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in a crowded National Assembly on Thursday.
The SONA returned with another dramatic scene as LPM members refused to be body searched before entering the chambers.
A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of its citizens.
“But I am worried about declaring a state of emergency on youth unemployment, although I agree it is a serious problem,” Geingob told the August House while responding to questions.
Statistics show that youth unemployment in Namibia stands at 33.4% and in 2021 it was estimated to reach a staggering 50.30% by the end of that year.
This follows whenPDM member of parliament Inna Hengari, who widely advocated for this, called for Geingob to declare a state of emergency in his 2023 SONA.
In July last year, the National Assembly agreed to a motion by Hengari on youth unemployment, with the deputy Speaker Loide Kasingo having referred the motion to a parliamentary standing committee to conduct nationwide consultations with young people and civil society organisations.
According to Geingob, when a President declares an emergency, he/she needs to get advice or there will be a crisis.
“There must be intelligent people who have to give you advice on what should be done. Otherwise we will have a crisis and so on,” he said.
However, he admitted that youth unemployment is a crisis to which he said should be talked about.
He also admitted that the methods being used to create jobs are not enough, while stating that crisis management is not an easy thing.
“When we say we should create our jobs too, it is being condemned, yes. When you give me power in that crisis period you saw during the crisis of Covid-19, I use to take decisions after consulting,” the President explained.
“But we can do other things too. Start to create jobs for them and in that way we can maybe diffuse the danger that is facing us.”
Geingob stamped that the crisis the country is facing of youth unemployment is caused by poor job mismatch.
“Youth, if they are all raise up it will be a crisis. You find the youth maybe from 13-14 and they can get the guns and [start] terrorism I talk about. And they can recruit them. So, there is a danger, it is true. So, let us talk seriously.”
He also stressed that the success of access to education created problems of space and quality of education.
The President told members of parliament who are pestering with questions, to pose those questions to ministers in the National Assembly.
“The problem we have is, you just want to talk to me but I am not a member of parliament. You are not my counterpart, my dear. Your counterparts are sitting next to you. Talk to them. I am not a member of parliament. I am a guest here. So, most questions you have are for the parliamentarians who are here.”
Furthermore, he expressed confidence that the foundation Namibia has put in place over the past years, have set the country on a path towards future success, adding that every assignment carried out, project completed, policy implemented, no matter how small, have served as a stepping stone towards a brighter future.
“Through thick and thin, we have stood firm as a people and as a country. Thus, I can confidently say that the state of our nation remains strong,” Geingob concluded.