Stirring the pot

Utoni Nujoma

These are some of the notable quotes from 2023 and the context in which they were uttered.

  1. In October in the National Assembly, labour minister Utoni Nujoma said Namibians in the northern regions are building pit latrines to use as toilets, while those in the rest of the country are too lazy to do the same.

“Go to the north, to Owamboland, where families are building their own toilets. Even a dry one, the pit latrine,” he said.
“But I know my people here.

“When I go to the reserve there, if you wake up in the middle of the night with diarrhoea, you have to run into the bush over snakes, because people are too lazy to do something,” he said.

Nujoma later apologised and withdrew his statement.

Hage Geingob
  1. During his visit to Paris, president Hage Geingob said the apartheid era’s terror supersedes that of the Germany colonial regime which saw the 1904-1908 genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama communities.

Geingob was speaking during a public lecture at the Paris Institute of Political Studies in October.

He said: “Reconciliation of Germany and Namibia is there. We have diplomatic relations, we have peace. This genocide happened how many years ago? Over 100 years ago.

“After that, the South Africans took over. They were worse, and then Swapo started to fight to free the country.”

Geingob later backtracked on his comments.

  1. During the opening of the Cabinet, Geingob said: “This other thing I saw which is now prominent is children being taught under the trees. I have travelled to this country, and I have never seen this before. Under the trees.”

However, as a then Swapo presidential candidate in 2014, at one of his rallies, he said: “No child should be taught under a tree. This must be addressed during the second phase of the struggle, which is economic emancipation.”

Geingob went on to say when teachers complained that they do not have access to kitchens at schools, he told them to improvise.

“I looked at this person and I said ‘yes, while you wait for the government, why don’t you put one pole here, one pole there, one there, and one pole there, and put blikkies on top?

“At least you will be cooking there and it won’t be wet while you are waiting for the government,” the president said.

  1. Gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare minister Doreen Sioka told her fellow Cabinet members to talk about gender-based violence (GBV) because those who die as a result of it are lost votes for the Swapo government.

“Next year, 2024, we are going for [an] election, these people who are dying [from GBV], that’s our voters, therefore, we are losing votes,” said Sioka.

  1. Swapo backbencher Jerry Ekandjo told parliamentarians in June that he did not go to prison on Robben Island to promote homosexuality in Namibia.

“We cannot be a republic of homosexuals. These freedoms […] I went to Robben Island at the age of 26, not to promote homosexuality here. People died and disappeared. If we allow it, the people will push us all out.

“Never ever! I don’t see any member of this house supporting this, this is inhumane. I see a male dog climbing another dog or a bull climbing another bull, you will kill it,” he said.

  1. The president’s daughter, Nangula Geingos, recently hit back at critics questioning why the first couple’s children are in Dubai with their parents, Hage Geingob and Monica Geingos, who were in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on official state business.

“We are having a wonderful time on holiday with our family. We are enjoying our father, our mother and Dubai. I encourage Namibians to do the same,” Nangula posted on Facebook in November.

  1. Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa earlier this year sternly stopped chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on natural resources Tjekero Tweya from expressing his concerns on the secrecy around the green hydrogen project.

Tweya was previously expressing concerns about secrecy around the green hydrogen project but was told by Shaningwa to “end up there” after he mentioned State House.

  1. Attorney general Festus Mbandeka submitted an affidavit to the Windhoek High Court in which he argues that a majority of Namibians still reject homosexuality and that sodomy laws should remain in force on that basis.

“I deny that the mere existence of the sodomy laws promotes the stigmatisation of gay men. If these men suffer from any stigma, it is because of their choice to engage in sexual behaviour that is considered morally taboo in our society.”

  1. “Our girls cannot even wear miniskirts these days, then they are being raped. It is not a crime to wear a miniskirt.

Our mindset is not right. This needs to be addressed,” said Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) chief whip Elma Dienda.

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