REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS 2016
HIS EXCELLENCY DR. HAGE G. GEINGOB PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
05 April 2016
Honourable Professor Peter Katjavivi,
Speaker of the National Assembly and Mrs Jane Katjavivi,
Honourable Margareth Mensah-Williams,
Chairperson of the National Council and Mr Wycliff Williams,
Right Honourable, Saraa Kuugongelwa-Amadhila Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business in Parliament
, Honourable McHenry Venaani, Leader of the Official Opposition;
Honourable Nangolo Mbumba, Secretary General of Governing Party and Member of Parliament;
Honourable Members of Parliament, Special Guests:
• Comrade Nickey Iyambo, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia,
• Comrade Sam Shafishuna Nujoma, First President of the Republic of Namibia and Founding Father of the Namibian Nation,
• Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, Second President of the Republic of Namibia,
• Comrade Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia,
• Former First Ladies, Comrade Nujoma and Comrade Pohamba,
• Your Lordship Peter Shivute, Chief Justice,
• Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
• Distinguished Invited Guests,
• Members of the Media,
• Fellow Namibians,
Section thirty-two (32), subsection two (2) of the Namibian Constitution places the President under the obligation to annually “address Parliament on the state of the nation and on the future policies of Government… and report on the policies of the previous year and… be available to respond to all questions.” I delivered my first State of the Nation Address on the 21st of April 2015. I am here today to account to you and the Nation at large on progress made since then and to release the Harambee Prosperity Plan that outlines our future policies over the next four years. Honourable Speaker Honourable Chairperson Idowu Koyenikan once said, “Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great; your country becomes great because of your pride in it.” Having entered into our 26th year of Independence, we bear witness to this notion. I stand before you today to proclaim that the Namibian House is in great shape.
The State of the Nation is sound. Let our national pride continue driving us towards the full realization of our dream, One Namibia, One Nation. We have developed the Harambee Prosperity Plan as the implementation roadmap to fast-track the achievement of our development goals. The Prosperity mandate will not be easy, but, with all Namibians working together in the spirit of Harambee, it is possible. Most Namibians are hopeful because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. People who are hopeless remain quiet and suffer in silence. People who have lost hope do not engage.
It is people with hope who engage. I would be worried the day our people stop engaging, because it would imply that the situation has become hopeless. It is blatantly untrue that a gag was placed on the questions that Parliamentarians may ask after my SONA address. This not only goes against my demonstrated commitment of encouraging open and frank dialogue, it also fails the basic test of honest engagement. Rumour mongering, blatant lies and innuendo are a stumbling block to informed and factual analysis and I implore the media to act reasonably when faced with unverified reports lest they themselves be accused of fabricating stories as many media reports are blatantly untrue and report events and discussions which are clearly a figment of somebody’s imagination. It has been said that, “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” The Namibian people are those birds of faith. We are up at dawn while it is still dark because we can already feel the light drawing nearer and nearer.
You will recall that during my Independence Day Statement, I mentioned that “there are some – a very small but vocal minority – who use every opportunity to create the impression that nothing positive is happening in Namibia, and that Government’s spending priorities are misplaced”. This negative narrative is not supported by the empirical evidence and our national statistics which paint a picture of a responsible, transparent Government which respects the rights of its citizens and is making developmental inroads in its governance and macro-economic architecture.
That is why our international ratings on Governance and Transparency continue to improve upwards. However, as I said before, you have the right to demand for more and we welcome constructive engagement with our citizenry. I also stated that I will, during this State of the Nation Address, present a comprehensive rebuttal that will affirm that Namibia at Independence and Namibia today are miles apart.
Anyone who denies this fact has donned the hat of unreasonable pessimism. Winston Churchhill summed up the difference between pessimists and optimists as follows “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
As optimists, we will continue to see the opportunity to improve as we march forward towards Vision 2030 and beyond. Significant changes have occurred: in our demographic composition; in our economy; in education and health; in poverty dimensions and in infrastructural development. In the interest of time, developments in these areas have been appended to this Address. I encourage all of you read appendix one and feel proud how far Namibia has come since Independence. Honourable Speaker Honourable Chairperson Fellow Namibians I would like to give a brief account on some of the key commitments made during my maiden State of the Nation address in 2015.
A year is a short period in national implementation terms and it is a proud moment to report that our delivery rate on promises had been exceptional. I promised, despite there being no legal obligation to do so, that I would publicly declare my assets and health records. I delivered on that promise.
My wife voluntarily joined me and also disclosed her personal assets for public scrutiny. I directed that the practice of asset declarations cascade to Members of Parliament and the entire civil service. Both houses of our Parliament have delivered on this important action. Moreover, the Right-Honourable Prime Minister has ensured that all civil servants, Permanent Secretaries included, have submitted their declaration forms which are being scrutinized by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Regulations under the Public Service Act were also amended to make the declaration of financial interests compulsory. I commend the Right Honourable Prime Minister for successfully carrying out this difficult assignment. I directed that Ministers compile Declarations of Intent. Despite this being a new initiative, all Ministers obliged and submitted their Declarations of Intent within the required time frame.
We, therefore, delivered on this promise and I thank Ministers for complying with this request. I promised that we would introduce Performance Agreements at Ministerial level and that these Agreements would be made available for public scrutiny. We delivered on both accounts.
Moreover, the results of the first quarterly reviews