OUTSPOKEN politician Kazenambo Kazenambo's observation on how the Swapo government runs the economy is damning:
Namibia has three economies - the private sector that remains non-penetrable and white-owned; the well-connected economy of empowered blacks; and the informal sector dominated by shebeens, apple vendors and taxi operators.
He says there are 'niggerisms' in the economy and that for the past 25 years, a few people have been eating with big companies. Kazenambo also charged that the fishing sector is operating like a mafia syndicate.
“They are eating the cream with no fear,” Kazenambo said. “In this economy, there is niggerism. The nigger who works in the field and the nigger who works in the house. This is how we have been running this economy for 25 years.”
In a wide-ranging interview with The Namibian last week, Kazenambo said the black elite is being rented by private companies to access State contracts in the name of empowerment. He said most Namibians are left to be middlemen in government contracts unlike private firms that have finances and equipment.
He said this modus operandi includes multinationals from countries like China who hand-pick Namibians for quick-fix business marriages.
“They rent us blacks to access tenders from the government. Once the project is allocated, that's the end of it. Then we hunt for the next tender from government. It's not real empowerment,” he said. “It's only a few blacks who are benefiting from government tenders because that's where the private sector rent blacks. We are middle people and given a commission and then we go. We buy a house in Klein Windhoek, eat at posh restaurants and go to nightclubs.”
Kazenambo called for a presidential inquiry into black empowerment to improve wealth redistribution in the country because the policy is being blocked by the well off.
“The BEE policy is dead and will not see any day because the few rented blacks are comfortable. The powerful niggers are in the house and they are eating on the table, sharing the spoils,” he said.
He said the BEE policy law should first be in place instead of the current vague empowerment that is enriching a few well-connected people.
In 2013, Kazenambo threw a tantrum during the debate of the Procurement Bill in the National Assembly when he said “for the past 22 years, we have not had a BEE framework; which one are you referring to in this document?” The bill will soon be re-tabled with components of BEE and the empowerment of women and the youth.
Kazenambo described the relationship between the BEE elite and the wealthy private sector as unholy due to their access to inside information at ministries and friendship to ministers.
“We have an unholy alliance of the whites who are dominating this economy and the black rented men. They drink together sitting in their ivory towers,” he said.
The former minister said this unholy alliance cascades into the appointment of boards of directors of private and government firms.
“You find a person sitting on 10 boards. Are you telling me that there are no other Namibians who can serve on these boards?” he asked. “It's because this person is a good puppet and whites are comfortable dealing with him or her,” he added.
He also asked that the ministry of trade and that of public enterprises proclaim some tenders exclusively for Namibians.
Kazenambo also castigated the white-owned private sector of refusing to give tenders to black people.
Namibia which is faced with rife elite enrichment is ranked one of the most unequal countries in the world since 90% of its wealth is entrenched in the hands of 10% of the population.
Kazenambo, who is an exclusive prospecting licence and fishing quota holder, said the perceived empowerment in the fishing sector is a smokescreen.
“There is no transparency, it's a dog-eat-dog situation, a Mafia thing. There is no empowerment there. I'm speaking from experience. People are being used and robbed,” he said.
He gave an example of a fishing quota holder who is often informed that the company with which he owns a quota has deposited N$50 000 or N$20 000 in his bank account.
“How it was distributed, you don't know. Money is invested without your consent. You will just hear that you have shares in a certain company but you don't know the worth of that stake,” he said.
He also asked that the fishing sector be investigated to get a clear picture of whether locals are really being empowered or not.
By Shinovene Immanuel: The Namibian