PM's office defends foreign trips

24 Apr 2014 19:20pm
GOBABIS, 24 APR (NAMPA) - The Office of the Prime Minister has dismissed as untrue media reports concerning the recent visits of the Prime Minister, Dr Hage Geingob to Cuba, North America, Belgium and China.
The Prime Minister (PM) was in China more than a week ago on invitation by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, where he spent nine days engaging in political and economic talks with Chinese counterparts.
Before flying to Beijing, the premier attended the two-day European Union (EU) - Africa summit, where he made his stand on Namibia’s unwillingness to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement in its current form.
The trip to the EU headquarters came shortly on the heels of an extended visit to Cuba, Canada and the United States of America.
The media release, issued on Thursday, also disputed recent media reports that highlighted the Prime Minister as saying Namibia will never follow a “Zimbabwe” style of land reform.
According to the media release, Geingob merely stated that Namibia is a county that is ruled by law and order, and would as such never allow people to go out of the constraints of such laws.
“Namibia has chosen to follow the willing buyer, willing seller approach and let the availability of land be decided by market prices. This can be likened to a mother carrying a baby for nine months. Although this patience can pay off, there can also be fatal consequences if after nine months the mother gives birth to a deceased child even though the mother is healthy,” the statement reads.
It further states that “…the Prime Minister would therefore like to urge that all stakeholders should work hard to solve the issue of land, taking into consideration the fact that the older generation will not be able to quell the desire of the youth to secure lands through any possible means if the status quo should remain…”
On the issue of alleged lavish spending by the PM by way of such trips, the Prime Minister’s office placed on record that most of the recent trips were fully paid by inviting governments.
“As far as cost is concerned, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Cuba, he was accommodated at a State villa and all costs were incurred by the Cuban Government since he had been invited by the Head of State in Cuba. Similarly in Brussels, the Prime Minister was hosted by the European Union and engaged in what can be termed as crucial discussions on the EPAs,” noted the statement.
The Prime Minister’s office further urged critics to maintain a positive attitude towards issued geared towards the benefit of the country, such as the Prime Minister’s trips abroad.
“It is short-sighted and somewhat ignorant to always judge the success of missions abroad by looking at the monetary gains from such trips. The sphere of international relations encompasses numerous geo-political, socio-economic and trade aspects that one has to assess the importance of outward missions by looking at each aspect not in isolation of the other. Therefore one cannot look at these missions from a mere supply and demand angle,” noted the PM Bureau.