Govt is for all – PohambaBy: OSWALD SHIVUTE
SERVICES and goods that the Government provide are not from one person or one political party, because they are paid with State funds.
Such services should also be delivered to all people irrespective of colour, religious or political affiliation.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba repeatedly sent out this message last week during the inauguration of the Reverend Theophelus Hamutumbangela Railway Station at Oshikango on Thursday and at the official opening of the Rundu-Elundu tarred road on Friday.
Pohamba’s statement was in sharp contrast to the belief among many in Swapo that the ruling party must be solely credited for every development project taking place in the country.
Many Swapo leaders, including Pohamba, often conflate the State and party, especially when they refer to the “Swapo Party Government”. The President has in the past told civil servants to treat the Swapo manifesto as the ‘bible’ of the public service.
“On this issue, there will be no compromise. Its implementation is not by choice, but it is obligatory,” Pohamba said in September 2009 when he ordered that all senior civil servants must keep the manifesto on their desk as the primary guiding policy document.
Last week, Pohamba appeared ready to put party colours aside when it came to national development, saying the Government was for all and he was pleased to work with opposition leaders for a better Namibia.
“I am happy to see Members of Parliament from opposition parties such as Chief Justus //Garoëb and Clara //Gowases from the Republican Party, who came all the way to Okongo and Oshikango to celebrate together with Swapo Members of Parliament and other Namibians, the official opening of the Government infrastructure,” he said.
Pohamba called on Namibians to unite for development.
“I think leaders of opposition political parties who are here may think that this is a Swapo event. No, I want to tell them that these is not a Swapo event, but an event for all Namibians, irrespective of their political affiliation. Everyone is welcome to attend,” he said.
Pohamba said he wants all Namibians to receive equal treatment when it comes to Government services and that services be provided to all.
“When I grew up, I saw believers from different church organisations hate each other because of beliefs, but nowadays, that hatred is no longer there. They love and respect each other irrespective of their different religious beliefs. If our people can unite on religious level, why not on political level too?” Pohamba said.
The President said he was stunned by some Anglican church leaders two weeks ago who did not want the national anthem to be sung during a church service that marked the unveiling of a tombstone of one of the country’s liberation heroes.
In May this year, Local Government Minister Jerry Ekandjo, encouraged Swapo members to wear party colours to church services in contravention of an appeal by church leaders to stop people from confusing party politics and religion.
Ekandjo’s argument was that Swapo was made up of Christians of various denominations and is a party of God. He also said churches should allow party members to be buried in coffins draped in Swapo colours because this is also done when clergy or even soccer players die.