Swapo financier after photo job

February 13, 2015, 7:33am

Swapo financier after photo job

By Shinovene ImmanuelTileni Mongudhi

THE company owned by the businessman who donated a hi-tech bus used during Swapo's campaign last year, is among entities in the race for the N$6 million contract for President-elect Hage Geingob's official portrait.
Harold Urib owns WHPhotography, the company linked to the portrait tender. He was among the businesspeople who provided the state-of-the-art bus in October last year that was used by Geingob during his campaigns around the country. 
Information provided to The Namibian shows that Urib registered the company on 19 December last year.
When he received the bus, Geingob himself lauded the donation from Urib and his fellow businesspeople. He even boasted on social networks saying: “We just modernised our national campaign by launching the first ever hi-tech Swapo Party presidential campaign bus. You ain't seen nothing yet.”
Revelations about Urib being the frontrunner in the tender has brought inferences of favouritism and procurement decisions based on party patronage due to the businessman's recent donation to Swapo.
Some people have described the pending issuing of the tender as a form of payback. 
The Namibian reported yesterday 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.
The Secretary to Cabinet, Nangula Mbako, said the tender had not yet been issued. 
She declined to comment on whether WHPhotography is shortlisted but immediately denied any ruling party connections to the presidential portrait tender. 
“We have to dismiss those unfounded allegations. Let the people making the allegations prove them to me,” she said.
She also refuted claims that most of the contracts, especially those being dished out for the independence celebrations and inauguration are being given to those with strong connections to Swapo.
Mbako said the tenders are being advertised and gave an example of a recent catering tender for the independence celebrations as one example which was advertised in the newspapers.
Sources said Geingob's official photo will cost the taxpayer a lot more than what ministries and agencies pay for official portraits.
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology permanent secretary Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said part of the reason for outsourcing this job is to promote private Namibian photographers. 
President Pohamba's framed official portrait from the ICT ministry cost N$500, while that of former President Sam Nujoma cost N$550.
The Namibian