Opposition voice SONA expectations

11 Apr 2018 07:10am
WINDHOEK, 11 APR (NAMPA) – Swanu parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua said there is nothing new that could come from President Hage Geingob’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Wednesday.
He expects the president to highlight progress made through the Harambee Prosperity Plan and other “rhetorical praise singing”.
Approached on Tuesday, Maamberua told Nampa that he would not ask the president any question during the question and answer session, unless he says something “unexpected”.
“I don’t think I have to waste my time with asking questions to the Head of State who is not serious with giving honest and appropriate answers to our questions,” said Maamberua.
Also deploying a wait-and-see approach was Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani, who declined to comment when quizzed on his SONA expectations.
Like Maamberua, Venaani said there was little to expect in the SONA, apart from “rhetoric and excuses”.
Meanwhile, Venaani was expected to deliver his party’s “Real State of the Nation Address” on Thursday - a day after Geingob’s, but it has since been shelved until next week.
“We want to analyse this one first,” he said.
National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) Secretary-General Meundju Jahanika expects the president to detail the government employment creation masterplan.
“I expect the issue of job creation to be addressed in this SONA; not temporary jobs but permanent posts,” he said.
“What is the government’s long-term employment strategy?” Jahanika wanted to know.
Additionally, reducing the bloated public service should feature prominently in the SONA, he said.
Asked for remedies to the overstaffed public service, Jahanika proposed a merger of several ministries that do similar or overlapping functions.
To this effect, the land reform and agriculture ministries could easily become a single ministry, while the poverty eradication ministry can be incorporated in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, he proposed.
Similarly, the finance, trade and public enterprises ministries can be amalgamated under one umbrella ministry, according to Jahanika.
The same can be done with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation as well, he said.
On Independence Day last month, Geingob vowed to provide details around the goals of tackling inequality and unemployment.