Government has confirmed buying a sleek N$2 million land cruiser SUV for Swapo presidential candidate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
The move has however been described as “wasteful”.
This comes at a time when President Hage Geingob imposed a moratorium on unneccessary travelling and buying of cars in 2020.Nandi-Ndaitwah who has been on a whirlwingd tour of introductory rallies across the country has also been on record speaking against wasteful expenditure and corruption in the Swapo structures.
EVERYONE TO BENEFIT
Minister John Mutorwa said the vehicle is among the newly procured units intended for the government fleet during the 2023/24 financial year.
He said the allocated budget for government vehicles in the current financial year stands at N$25 million, a sum that has received both parliamentary and Treasury approval.
“The vehicle is to be used as a government pool vehicle and is not permanently assigned to any given senior public office bearer,” Mutorwa said.
The vehicle was procured through a restricted bidding process, as stipulated by Section 31 of the Public Procurement Act 15 of 2015, Mutorwa said.
Mutorwa said the approval for the new fleet came via a Cabinet directive earlier this year, despite president Hage Geingob imposing a five-year moratorium on the procurement of new government vehicles in 2020.
McHenry Venaani, the leader of the official opposition Popular Democratic Movement, expressed criticism on social media on Monday, questioning the government’s decision to expand its fleet during a period when there is a prohibition on acquiring new vehicles.
“Leaders must not fool society into being concerned with poverty and have no limits at expenditure,” Venaani wrote.
Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) researcher Frederico Links expressed his inability to comprehend why such a vehicle holds priority currently, considering the array of urgent needs requiring attention which lack sufficient funding allocation.
“This does come across as a wasteful allocation of taxpayer money, when things like sanitation remain underfunded.
Links highlighted that during a parliamentary session on Wednesday, agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein expressed concern regarding the budget allocation for his ministry, with the agriculture ministry being allocated a mere 0,8% of the overall national budget.
“Just the other day in parliament, the agriculture minister was pleading for more resources to be put towards ensuring food security across the country. When you view the purchase of an overpriced car against this backdrop, it just comes across that the government lacks awareness of what its priorities are,” Links said.
Political analyst Rui Tyitende said the continued purchase of new government vehicles is a “complete and utter wastage” of public funds.
“It is high time we move away from purchasing vehicles for political office bearers. Since they are there to serve the public and not salivate on luxury, why do they not purchase their own cars the way ordinary Namibians do?”
Tyitende said public officeholders are meant to serve the public, not to be served by the public or for their personal service.
“This culture of entitlement and conspicuous consumption needs to stop. Politics is about making difficult choices between competing interests, and buying vehicles for those that can afford them is an insult to Namibians who have been told to tighten their belts and persevere under the difficult economic circumstances,” Tyitende said.
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