RDP says it would abolish National CouncilBy: SELMA SHIPANGA
NAMIBIA under a Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) government will be one without a National Council, where traditional leaders are not allowed to be active politicians, and one where all permanent secretary jobs will be advertised and contracted on a performance basis for five years.
An RDP-led Namibia will also, as a measure to alleviate corruption, blacklist those found guilty of corrupt activities, implement the Basic
Income Grant (BIG) as a short-term measure to tackle abject poverty and ensure no tax on individual pension money, except if such money is withdrawn before retirement age.
These are among the 15 national alternative policies of the RDP that the party shared with non-governmental and civil society organisations in Windhoek yesterday.
RDP secretary of mobilisation and organisation Libolly Haufiku said that as the official opposition, the RDP has a duty and responsibility towards the people of Namibia to present alternative policies.
“The RDP believes it is simply not enough to constantly condemn the failing policies of the Swapo-led government without us presenting alternatives. Those citizens who have been yearning to know our policies on key economic and social sectors of the country can now feel at ease,” he said.
The RDP said should it be elected into power, it would replace the party-list system with a constituency-based electoral system to improve accountability.
“The RDP will abolish the National Council and increase the number of representatives in the National Assembly. The RDP will enforce the separation of powers as stipulated in the Namibian Constitution, where for example Executive members shall not be part of the Legislature,” reads the RDP policy document.
According to Haufiku, ministers are not carrying out their duties properly at the moment “because they are always in Parliament”.
He said once in power, RDP president Hidipo Hamutenya would not shy away from appointing ministers from outside Parliament, provided such people had the required skills to fulfill the tasks “to ensure an all-inclusive leadership”.
The document also states that the party would disallow traditional leaders from active politics. “If you are a traditional leader, you have no business being in politics,” Haufiku said.
On issues of decentralisation, the RDP would allow regions to have their own budgets, which would then be incorporated into the national budget. It would eliminate the appointment of regional governors, who instead would be directly elected by the regions.
Haufiku said this would put an end to the concept of “jobs for comrades” and the mentality of people thinking they are entitled to government jobs.
In 2010, the Regional Councils Act was amended to pave the way for the direct appointment of governors by the president. The law also provides for the appointment of special advisors to each governor. In terms of the old act, governors were appointed by regional councils from among their own ranks.
With regard to public procurement and tendering, RDP said it would give preference to Namibians, and State procurement would not be done by permanent secretaries but by experts and the Tender Board would be reformed and composed of knowledgeable people.
The RDP also vowed not to allow foreign military bases in the country should it come into power, and would review the Communication Act of 2008 (dubbed the spy bill), Broadcasting Act and other laws that restrict media freedom.
On tackling corruption, the RDP said it would “reintroduce and finally implement President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s proclamation on zero tolerance towards corruption”.
“It was proclaimed and never implemented, so we are going to implement it. Every corrupt country in Africa has set up an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to blind the people. Corruption should be dealt with by the government, but here if you call the government they just refer you to the ACC. The government itself should spearhead the fight against corruption, something that is not currently happening in our country,” said RDP secretary general Jesaya Nyamu.
The party said another way of dealing with corrupt individuals would be to name and shame them.
In its education policy, the RDP said it would promote mother-tongue teaching, make it compulsory for indigenous languages to be taught at all Namibian schools and review “the pathetic salaries of our teachers”.
The RDP said it is committed to land redistribution and solving the housing crisis in the country, and accused the Swapo government of “deliberately keeping Namibians ignorant with regard to their rights”.
“This government has deliberately kept people ignorant. It’s as if a policy was set up to keep people ignorant of their rights. People believe it’s wrong not to vote for the ruling party. People are actually insecure,” said Haufiku.
“Give us a chance, we will do so.”