Millions for Geingob's photo

February 12, 2015, 7:41am

Millions for Geingob's photo

GOVERNMENT is to spend more than N$6 million on the official portrait of President-elect Hage Geingob.
The Namibian has learned that government will pay N$6,7 million for 2 800 copies of framed portraits of Geingob's official picture.
Sources said another N$6 million will be paid to the photographer for the portrait's copyright over 10 years. 
Government sources further said the plan is to acquire 4 000 copies of the framed picture at a cost of N$5 000 each by the time of the President's inauguration next month. Ministry of Information and Communication Technology permanent secretary Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana disputed the figures. He declined to provide details.
“We will never spend that much and go that way,” he said despite confirming that a private photographer will be hired to produce Geingob's official portrait.
“We will report back on how much we spent,” he said.
The Secretary to Cabinet, Nangula Mbako, also said there is no truth in the story.
“That information is not correct,” Mbako said, but would not give any details. 
She requested that questions be emailed to her.
Yet at the time of going to print, Mbako had not responded to the questions emailed to her office regarding the portrait. 
Although the ICT ministry is responsible for producing official portraits for Cabinet, Ua-Ndjarakana said the President's official portrait is very important and the right quality is required, hence that responsibility cannot be left to the ministry's internal photographers.
Ua-Ndjarakana also said that government will only buy the first batch of portraits from the photographer for the inauguration, while his ministry will reproduce the President's official picture on its own at a later stage.
Sources said the ministry informed the Prime Minister's office that it does not have the funds to buy the portraits but was told to find the money in savings. 
He said the portraits of the first two Presidents were also done by private photographers.
The sources said the private photographer who 'impressed' the Office of the Prime Minister most, will get the deal. 
This will cost the taxpayer a lot more than what ministries and agencies pay for official portraits.
President Pohamba's framed official portrait from the ICT ministry cost N$500, while former President Sam Nujoma's is N$550.
Ua-Ndjarakana further said part of the reason for outsourcing this job is to promote private Namibian photographers. 
This is despite the ministry having an entire department tasked with that responsibility.
Tileni Mongudhi: The Namibian