Confirmation that the government has bought a vehicle for a minimum of N$2 million for deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is just the latest proof of leaders out of touch with the hardships experienced by most Namibians.
Few will disagree that leaders need “safe and comfortable” vehicles to traverse the vastness of Namibia in order to deliver on the promises of goods and services they made to the population.
But a Toyota Land Cruiser at no less than N$2 million is insensitive when the state cannot provide water, health services and food production for a sizeable number of citizens.
Coming a year before elections, allocating a luxury SUV to Nandi-Ndaitwah can only be seen as aimed at helping Swapo’s presidential candidate to run her campaign.
Such a blatant misuse of state infrastructure is bound to show Nandi-Ndaitwah as paying lip service in public speeches in which she has said she was against the wastage of public funds and would not tolerate corruption.
Transport minister John Mutorwa played down the purchase of the vehicle, saying it comes from N$25 million approved by parliament in the 2023-2024 national budget aimed at freshening up the government’s fleet of vehicles.
“The vehicle is to be used as a government pool vehicle and is not permanently assigned to any given senior public office-bearer,” said Mutorwa.
So, why spend so much money to buy a vehicle for use by the Swapo presidential candidate at a time when she has been criss-crossing the country addressing ‘thank you’ rallies?
Spending millions on luxury vehicles exposes how inconsiderate politicians are amid complaints by the ministry of agriculture that there’s not enough money to provide for water supply and to boost food security.
More than 600 000 Namibians go to bed hungry because they have no money. Nearly half of the population live in shacks without running water and sanitation.
Political commentator Rui Tyitende has suggested that politicians buy their own vehicles.
Top government officials have a choice of being given the money to buy a vehicle of their choice or have the vehicle paid for by taxpayers for the leaders’ pleasure.
Most choose that the cars remain on government books, because they get an opportunity to buy it cheaply upon leaving office or when a vehicle reaches a certain mileage.
What needs to be addressed is the system and culture of entitlement among politicians. There’s simply no ethical and moral standing among decision-makers when public money is involved.
As it is, ministers have a minimum of three vehicles at their disposal: A luxury sedan, an SUV or a double-cab and a “smaller” car ostensibly used by the security personnel.
If Nandi-Ndaitwah is genuinely against the misuse of public money and corruption, she’d have to practically distance herself from immoral spending on luxurious toys.
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