It makes very sad listening when a Minister who should be in charge of a whole ministry admits on national television that he heard about a huge vaccines’ delivery from whistleblowers. Last week Dr Richard Kamwi, the Minister of Health and Social Services admitted that his officers work like runaway horses, ordering and shipping huge amounts of medicines behind his back.
Dr Kamwi’s tirade was prompted by the story The Villager broke early July about the N$50m Pentavalente vaccine bought from Cuba.
His denial does not make him faultless. We know and have documents which show that it was him, Dr Kamwi who motivated Cabinet to buy the medicines.
Cabinet approved the purchase of the vaccines on the strength of Dr Kamwi’s motivation. The Tender Board too acted according to Cabinet’s approval based on Dr Kamwi and his Permanent Secretary’s motivation.
Now why would Dr Kamwi act as if he did not know anything about the purchase and the subsequent shipping of the vaccines if he was taken to court over the same deal by a local company which claims that the Ministry of Health sidelined them?
Why would Dr Kamwi deny any knowledge of the vaccines when in his motivation to Cabinet, he gives the name of Cargo Dynamics as a logistical partner in the purchase and shipping of the vaccines?
Why would he abdicate responsibility now when his Deputy Petrina Haingura admitted that they ordered the vaccines and found out that they do not tally with Namibia’s vaccination timetable?
It’s sad that such an essential ministry has officers acting behind the Minister’s back and squandering State funds unnecessarily. But where was Dr Kamwi while all this was happening?Hopefully, he was not playing shop floor manager around the country visiting clinics and standing by the gate to see who comes in late when his runaway officers were busy discussing vaccine shipments with the Cuban Government.
Why can’t the good doctor put a system in place that guides his staff across the country instead of him crisscrossing the country to waylay staff at small clinics? Is that not the job of health inspectors? Hopefully, Kamwi stops seeing political mirages and ghosts in the media closets because there is none. He should also stop fearing for his job because there is no one who wants it except himself. So he should stop fighting himself over his job.
We have evidence of emails, telephone calls, some at mid-night and text messages that we sent to his pharmaceutical spindoctor, Gilbert Habimana, the PS and to him in particular, as we sought answers when we broke the story. Neither the Minister nor his PS paid attention to our requests or questions. Habimana even changed his number because of our persistence for answers,we presume.
Now that he managed to fly to Cuba to sort out the mess at the instruction of the President, Dr Kamwi wants to talk. What for? That is pure cowardice. We take responsibility for informing the nation.