WALVIS BAY- Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob said the decision to allow superstars P- Square into the country was a collective cabinet decision made in line with African Union (AU) and World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.
The recommendations recently called for the lifting of all travel bans after several African nations barred entrance to people from Ebola-hit countries in West Africa, among them Nigeria.
WHO earlier this month called on all member states to urgently lift all travel bans and restrictions to respect the principle of free movement and that all travel related measures should be in line with the WHO and ICAO recommendations, in particular proper screening with regard to the deadly Ebola virus.
Geingob came under fire last week, especially on social networks, from critics who claimed he acted “irresponsibly” by allowing the group into the country knowing very well that Nigeria is one of the West African countries hit by the Ebola virus.
Geingob dismissed as “nonsense” the allegations made through social media claiming he singlehandedly allowed P-Square into the country.
While addressing Swapo members at a rally in Walvis Bay on Saturday, a visibly displeased Geingob diverted from his prepared notes to clarify the matter, which he said was being propagated for many people to vent their political campaigns against him.
“Firstly let me dispel some nonsense going around that I apparently authorised some people to bring the deadly Ebola virus to Namibia. They think I made the decision so that I can go to the show as well, but I am here addressing you all,” he hit back.
“It seems that certain sections of the Namibian public have misconstrued the situation regarding the music group P-Square’s entrance into Namibia. Subsequently this has opened the door for many people to use the platform of social media to vent their political campaigns and release virulent attacks on me,” said Geingob.
Geingob denied intervening in anyway so that P-Square could be granted visas to enter Namibia for their much hyped show that was held on Saturday at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek.
Geingob said P-Square, namely Peter and Paul Okoyo, were granted entry tbased on the AU and WHO recommendations to lift travel bans that restrict people from Ebola hit countries to travel.
He said he was informed about the visa application and his reaction was like that of most Namibians: “I reacted like most of you have, by saying no, since the group was coming from a region that has witnessed an outbreak of the Ebola virus.”
He said he was informed last week on Wednesday that Cabinet endorsed the decision of the AU which contained recommendations from the WHO.
“I consulted with the acting Minister of Health and Social Services, Rosalia Nghidinwa, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on the Ebola situation and both explained the same situation to me. It is on this basis that I asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to effect the standing cabinet decision,” he said.
“It is very unfortunate, if indeed the quotations attributed to the Minister of Home Affairs and her Permanent Secretary were correctly reflected, stating that they were ordered to change the government position on the entry of people from Ebola-infected countries, ” Geingob said.
Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) spokesman Job Amupanda was one of those who took issue with government’s decision to allow the music group into the country on his Facebook page last Thursday.
“YOUNG FRIENDS I am shocked. Very shocked. A decision was made today to risk the health of our country of Ebola in the name of a jumping up and down dancing party organised by bourgeoisie that own a Beer Company. Before I am accused of disrespecting elders and being a newcomer, consider, for yourself, the following, correctly so, our Ministry of Home affairs had rejected visas for Musical group P-Square as a measure to control the spread of Ebola; this measure is not unique to Namibia, Sierra Leone which is a country close to Nigeria has isolated 3 districts and 12 chiefdoms as a measure to control the spread of Ebola; this morning, it is reported, the Prime Minister ordered Home Affairs to grant Visas to the Dancing group to come in the country to jump up and down and dance (sic).”
In the same post Amupanda goes on to say: “Government has admitted that it doesn’t have capacity to control Ebola. Such a risk in the name of jumping up and down? Bye, ndayi kOmaalala (I am gone to Omaalala), to get shock therapy!”
The Executive Council of the African Union at its 16th Extraordinary Session on 8 September that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was requested by the WHO to intensify the fight against the deadly Ebola virus and lift the travel ban.
Namibia is a member of the AU and the WHO and thus Cabinet endorsed the decision and lifted the ban.
Courtesy of New Era