Wednesday, 4 April 2018 the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) hosted a panel discussion reflecting on the past 3 years of Dr Hage Geingob’s presidency. The event was hosted in Windhoek at the Nampower Convention Center with Ms Nangula Shejavali, a research associate with the IPPR, as the Master of Ceremony (MC). Joining her on stage as part of the formal panel was the Executive Director of the IPPR Mr Graham Hopwood, the Special Advisor on Economic Affairs in to the Office of the President Mr John Steytler, Junior Analyst and Economist at Simonis Storm Ms Idileni Nanghona and finally the leader of the Popular Democratic Movement Mr McHenry Venaani.
The atmosphere was energic as the three panelists reflected on the major hallmarks of the Presidents tenure thus far with a large focus being placed on the necessity of the Harambe Prosperity Plan (HPP), the obscure successes of the 5th National Development Plan (NDP5), the lack of a focus on Gender in the Harambe prosperity plan, the lack of dialogue between the President and opposition parties and finally the overall economic challenges that the country is facing.
Mr Hopwood emphasized that the President’s previous three years have been a mixed bag of results, with many of the promises outlined in the HPP and the NDP5 falling short due to the economic recession, the severe drought and external factors which crippled governments capacity to invest as previously planned. One could however argue that any plan, must have a fail safe that enables it to adapt to changing circumstances and at least meet some of the objectives proposed.
Ms Nanghona echoed these comments by emphasizing the severe economic difficulties that the country has faced, and the wisely chosen consolidation strategy that the government chose to adopt in order to steady the economy through the tough times.
In response to questions concerning the HPP and gender, Mr Steytler emphasized that Vision 2030 is the over all goal and that NDP 5 and the HPP are means to achieve that broader goal and are therefore necessary in order to break down the challenges to workable levels and achieve complimentary sub goals necessary for Vision 2030. He welcomed the need to have a clear section focused on Gender within future National plans and in that way further addressing the vulnerabilities and structural difficulties faced by women and young girls in Namibia.
Finally, Mr Venaani commended the President on his efforts towards transparency, in particular the revealing of his financial assets. However, Mr Venaani said more must be done in order address issues of electricity supply and the need for renewable energy, the need for local manufacturing as a job stimulus, the frailties that Namibia economy faces due to it’s dependency on receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and finally he pointed out the ideological contradictions that he suggests are hindering the South West African Peoples Organization’s (SWAPO) in it’s capacity to deliver long term results for the Namibian people.