Presidency refuses to show proof of flight tickets

Presidential couple Hage Geingob and Monica Geingos.

The Namibian Presidency has refused to provide the flight tickets of the four presidential children and grandson who travelled with the first couple to Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

President Hage Geingob and first lady Monica Geingos are facing backlash over travelling with their four children and grandson to COP28, which started on 27 November and will run until 10 December.

The children who travelled with the couple are Kayla Elago, Nino Kalondo, Dangos Geingos, Nangula Geingob and her son Jackson Dukes.

This is along with the first lady’s brother Salomo Kalondo.

Presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari yesterday refused to show The Namibian the flight tickets.

“There are better things a journalist should focus on during COP28. We told you officially that the tickets were paid for by the first couple.

“This issue is in the past now, and we won’t provide further comment. Please refer to our press release,” he said.

The couple has denied allegations that the state has paid for their children’s travel costs.

The Namibian Presidency has defended the presidential children featuring on a provisional list of the Namibian delegation published by the climate change conference secretariat, saying it was for “administrative purposes”.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende says Geingob is failing to follow his accountability and transparency slogan.

“If president Geingob’s mantra of accountability plus transparency equal trust is to be taken seriously by Namibians, then the failure to release the information will create doubt and suspicion in the minds of Namibians,” he says.

Tyitende questions the Presidency’s unwillingness to account to the nation.

“If they paid for the flights and accommodation as alleged, then where is the harm in providing the evidence? If they do not, what are we supposed to logically conclude? We are a docile nation, we tolerate too much,” he says.

The first couple’s behaviour, Tyitende believes, exposes the “hardened indifference by the political elite” pertaining to the utilisation of public funds amid high poverty, inequality and unemployment rates.

“The government does not care about the masses, hence its unfettered ability to squander public resources on luxuries, while the majority are drowning in poverty and hunger,” he says.

Another political analyst, Joseph Diescho, says the children of the first couple cannot travel “like that” without incurring state costs, such as for their transport and security detail wherever they go.

“That is standard, and Hengari cannot be correct with his assertion that taxpayers did not bear the costs. That is why the Obama daughters were hardly part of any presidential travel – because they are to be protected,” he says.

Diescho asks why the presidential children and grandson are in Dubai.

“What are so many people doing there when Namibia is not a main player in carbon emissions? Lack of accountability, lack of empathy with the nation that is in poverty . . ,” he says.

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