Standard says it did not commission cutting of trees

Dear Editor,

It is with great dismay that Standard Bank has become aware of an e-mail sent by an environmentalist doing the rounds. The email shows trees in front of a Standard Bank Billboard at the Truck Stop in Windhoek, being trimmed. Unfortunately this seems to have led to an incorrect perception in the market, that Standard Bank had commissioned the respective outdoor company to cut the trees to ensure a better view of the Bank’s billboard. The bank wants to confirm that this is not true. As a responsible corporate citizen of this country, the bank has been an avid supporter of conservation, and is vigorously enforcing this through all the contracts signed with the suppliers. Standard Bank with its roots firmly placed in Namibia for more than 92 years has not only supported the people of this country through numerous sponsorship and corporate social investment initiatives, but has also always been conscious of the beautiful, diverse and sometimes fragile nature of our nvironment. We would never condone any actions that would lead to the harming of the fauna and flora in our beautiful country. We are part and parcel of this beautiful country, its diverse people, spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, sunny climate, desert, droughts, perennial rivers and the ocean and would like to remain part of conserving it for many more generations of Namibians.

I remain.
Mpumzi Pupuma
Managing Director

Decentralise planning to empower the rural masses

Dear Sir,

WE all talk about rural empowerment, especially high Government authorities. From a development point of view, the only way we can make rural empowerment a reality is to decentralise the role of the National Planning Commission (NPC) so that we can create a new planning structure in Namibia, which will consist of Constituency Development Planning (CDP). Planning at constituency level could accelerate the development process because the majority of Namibians live in the rural areas. Constituency planners could be working directly with the communities who are really in need of basic provisions of services such as safe water. The development planners could assist the rural people on how they could go on to attain their needs and to solve most of their developmental problems. Planning at constituency level, could help the Government to easily identify areas to allocate resources to improve the standards of living of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities. Such grass-root planning could also have economic benefits as the Government will be financing development projects which are nearing completion as they would have been built by the communities themselves. The communities would be using resources within their territories such as fertile soil and providing labour (manpower), thus reducing the original costs of implementing such development projects, if they were to be started by Government or any other organisation for that matter. If communities are actively involved in such developmental projects, including at the planning stage, they could propose available resources from their side. This would in the long run reduce the cost of implementing such projects. When communities are involved in the planning of what they want achieved in their areas, they will be highly motivated to achieve what needs to be achieved in their areas within a short period of time than if they were not involved in the planning of such projects.
The Government could come up with new policies of financing development projects identified and started by communities through the help of constituency planners. The role of the Government would be to come in when there is evidence that the community can no longer go on with such projects, due to barriers or difficulties which require assistance from the central Government or any other developmental project donors. Such planners could mobilise the rural poor population so that they can take action and improve their situation. The constituency planners would organise meetings in constituencies they are working for, for communities to identify what facilities or services they need in their areas and how they are going to achieve their targets. The constituency development planners could form a Constituency Development Planning Committee (CDPC), which could provide reports to the National Planning Commission on how empowerment is progressing and report on new developmental projects that need financing from Government.

Booysen Tubulingane

Are we creating a dialogue or making a dispute?

Dear Editor,

I HAVE read with sorrow and shame the article that was published by Republikein of 29 November 2007, written by an anonymous official of the Namibia Movement for Democratic Change or (NMDC), titled “Pot calling the kettle black”. The parts of the article that attracted my attention were where it read: “we (NMDC) have received the news of the new (political) party with mixed feelings… there are questions that should be asked about the main rchitects of the RDP. Do the main architects really have the moral authority to speak on behalf of the impoverished masses of the country? Because over all the years the likes of Hidipo amutenya and Jesaya Nyamu have been part of the Swapo government”. I will not defend RDP or its interim leaders for the sake of it but as a way of rescuing democracy that is being deliberately drowned, I will speak out. It is not that RDP and its leaders have done something wrong but the real fear is for democratic competition that seems to threaten some people. It is not a secret that undemocratic political parties breed undemocratic regimes. The lack of enough democrats in Parliament has produced some undemocratic laws. It is the same undemocratic laws that are being violated with impunity. There is no doubt that the Namibia NMDC’s statement originated from the desk of its party secretary general (SG), Joseph Kauandenge, with the consent of the Party’s President, Frans Goagoseb. The people of Namibia are used to read the NMDC statements that are habitually and often signed by the said SG. What happened on this isolated occasion? Is Mr. Kauandenge trying to dodge not to be perceived as “one who sees a log in another person’s eye while he has a tree in his eye”? There is no doubt that if he dared to stick his head out, the people of this country would have identified and recognised him. They would have reminded him of his political footprints all over the political. playground. He is now with the NMDC but before that he was with NUDO, RP and DTA. And the question is: on whose mandate, has he been speaking? The opposition political parties should have been the mouthpieces of dissenting views that have been habitually and arrogantly squashed by the ruling Swapo party. Has the politician-turned-musician-turned-politician again got a problem to remember that for the past 15 to 17 years, Nujoma, as Swapo President and Namibian President has publicly been saying, “me and my Government…? I did this … and I did that….”?  Does that mean that the more than 700 electorates who mandated Nyamu to register RDP with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) are mere spectators or “running dogs”? Is that how Kauandenge sees the people of Namibia, including the NMDC members, supporters and sympathisers? People such as the Kauandenges, think that they have a God-given magic as solutions to people’s problems. These people lack the love for this country more than their own stomachs. It is very insulting to the rule of law and our democracy for NDMC to launch scathing attacks on the Namibian Constitution’s Chapter 3: Articles 17 and 21 (1) (a), Chapter 11: Article 95 (k), Chapter 1 (1) (2) (6) and the Electoral Act, Act 24 of 1992, by writing, “we (NMDC) have received the news of the new party (RDP) with mixed feelings”. Does Kauandenge know that his right to wave his fist is restricted up to where someone else is waving his/hers? If Kauandenge is waving his fist in NMDC, why should he dare to prevent Hamutenya and Nyamu to do the same in RDP? This country’s politicians must start fighting ideas with ideas but not the personal squabbles that have been going on during and after independence spearheaded by Swapo.
The personally-based arguments must be replaced by the issue-based deliberations. There is no doubt that this country’s regime in power has either lost focus and vision (Vision 2030?) as claimed by RDP or it has become more of a self-serving, corrupt, less innovative, bureaucratic-hearted, incompetent, slavish-oriented and politically notorious elite. What is being practiced by the powers-that-be is a repeat of what made Africans to stand up and take up arms in the past. We have dealt with the same problems, oppressions and suppressions that were experienced as far back as 1957 when Ghana became independent. The human rights abusers and violators do not have to be the “Boers” or “imperialists” or the so-called “enemies of our country” today, they can be the Kauandenges of the NMDCs and those of Swapo. All that glitters is not gold!

Steven Mvula, Human Rights Activist

Private school in Vaalgras embroiled in secrecy and corruption

Dear Editor,

I want to provide you with information about suspected corruption here. The Ecumenical Community Private School at Koichas in Vaalgras (near Keetmanshoop) was started with donor money in 1983. The Manager of the School is Mr. Willem Konjore (the Minister of Environment & Tourism).I suspect corruption because since the establishment of the school I have never heard or seen any report regarding the finances of this school. My parents and I personally, along with many community members of Vaalgras have participated in initiatives aimed at growing the school. Earlier after the establishment of the school, significant amounts of money were received from international donors. These donations were requested and received in the name of community development. I suspect corruption in the management of this school because there is so much secrecy surrounding the management of the school’s affairs. Farms, vehicles, and many other equipment have been bought over the years, some of these are allegedly owned by the school, but the community knows very little about who owns the rest of the property. What is clear is that the overwhelming majority of the community is not benefiting from the project that was established in their name. I am challenging Informanté to investigate the affairs of this school and related projects to uncover the secrets hidden from the community.

Regards, Anti-corruption citizen

Profound thanks to the Founding Father

Dear Editor,

Please allow me space in your popular newspaper to express my profound gratitude to the old wise man, namely Dr. Sam Nujoma, the former President of Swapo of Namibia, Founding President of Namibia and Chancellor of the University of Namibia. As a product of the University of Namibia and critical Swapo supporter, I would like to express my gratitude to you personally and to the Swapo Party and its various administrations, including the current government. I know that if were it not for the readiness and practical decision of the Swapo Party to free this country by any means necessary, the colonialists and so-called masters would still happily be doing what the cruel Zionists are still doing to the Palestinians today! That simply goes a long way to prove that to free a country is not a joke or some kind of a picnic. It is serious business and your political leadership, personal resolve and wisdom have delivered us freedom, democracy, progress, stability, human rights and hope for a better future. Dr. Nujoma, rest assured that despite the hysterical noises from your harsh critics and political foes, there is a still a large section of patriotic Namibians that love you and cherish your political guidance. I am one of them. Of course, like all human beings you have your weaknesses and your strengths. Personally, I am more interested in your strengths as a master politician this country has ever produced. You have shown now and again that you are a political force to be reckoned with, not only in Namibia, but all over the world. The brave history of the liberation struggle and subsequent political independence, have proven what I am talking about! Let objective history and future generations pass proper judgement on your record as a political leader of an independent African country and indeed, as a former commander of the liberation army, PLAN. No liberation struggle is without the unintended. I may be speaking on behalf of many young people, if not all patriotic Namibians, when I declare that your leadership has been one characterized by a healthy sense of African pride, self-confidence and a deep respect for those who respect us, especially as an African people. Thank you for such a powerful and enduring legacy. I am dead sure brother Malcolm X would be happy to know that you have been one of the most influential and proud African leaders! Have a happy, healthy and restful retirement from active politics. All the best with your studies! Long live Dr. Nujoma, long live!

Swakopmund mother loses baby, accuses hospital of incompetence

This is an open letter to the Permanent Secretary for Health. I had a horrific experience and I’m reliving it now in the hope that something will be done and fewer mothers will experience what I’ve been through. My ordeal started on Thursday evening, 25 October 2007. I had severe labour pains and went to the hospital. After my examination the nurse informed me that I had not dilated and asked me to go home. I was back Friday evening as the pains were extreme and again I was sent home due to the fact that I had not dilated. On Saturday morning, 27 October at 06h00, I went back and was admitted. When the night shift nurse, the same nurse as during the previous evenings, examined me she told me that I had dilated 3.5cm. When the day shift nurses came on, they examined me and I was told that I had only dilated 2cm. I couldn’t understand how I could go from 3.5cm to 2cm in an hour and when I questioned them they simply said....’the sizes of their fingers differ...’ I walked the length and the breadth of the maternity ward as this speeds up the process. The doctor came into the maternity ward and simply ignored me as I had only dilated 2cm and was still far off. Shortly afterward I started vomiting yellowish/greenish water. The nurse simply told me this was a good sign....again I didn’t understand how my being sick could be a good sign. They declined my request to have a bit of breakfast and their reasoning was in case I had to have an emergency caesarean. I accepted this. The doctor came in a few times during the course of the morning to check on the 13-year-old rape victim who was also in labour. But she ignored me. During the course of the day I vomited twice more and felt really ill. The nurses didn’t even respond to my queries as to why I was vomiting. The doctor kept ignoring me and I don’t even know if she was informed of my being ill. On one of her visits to the 13-year-old, I asked her politely to please perform a caesarean. I just felt something wasn’t right. She didn’t even answer me, simply turned her back on me and walked away. I was in tears and very scared. And she chose to ignore me. During visiting hours around lunch time, I asked for the lady who had assisted me during my pregnancy, we call her a ‘fruit woman’. Her opinion was that due to the fact that my contractions were three minutes apart and the severe shivering I had, were signs that I was about to deliver. As soon as they left I felt a ‘push’ sensation. This went on for hours, I screamed for help, I begged and pleaded for them to at least examine me, but they simply ignored my pleas. Around 17h00pm, I was finally worthy of the doctor’s attention and she found that I had dilated 8cm. I was so happy. They informed me that I will deliver in two hours and checked their watches with the reply: ‘We will be back at 19.15pm’. At 18h00 the same night shift nurse of the previous evenings came to my room to tell me that I waited just for her. I asked her to please examine me. I’m ready and I was. They didn’t even have time to take me to the delivery room, I was pushing while they got the bed ready. I cooperated with them as I knew this was the end of my pain, I wanted to hold my little baby. They commented on how well I was doing, and told me when the baby’s head was out. But my happiness ended there. My baby was stuck and no matter how hard I pushed I could not dislodge her. They called the doctor. By the time she arrived my baby’s head had been out for about 15 minutes. They pulled my baby by her head, apparent from the marks on her forehead show this, a nurse sat on my stomach to assist in getting her body out. Then they grabbed her and ran away from me. No-one said a word to me. Eventually they came back to tell me that my baby was dead. No explanation as to how or why. They didn’t even bother to cover me or close my legs. They left me in that position for a good few hours whilst assisting the 13-year-old girl. She too had the same difficulty in getting her baby out, and as they were ready to take her to the theater she finally gave one final push. Another expecting mother got nervous about the events in the hospital that evening and consulted with the doctors. They finally sent her to Windhoek on an ambulance at 02h00, the Sunday morning. I was being moved from the maternity ward to Block 4. When I arrived there I was placed on a broken bed, no nurse in sight. I wasn’t given any pain killers and when I requested some the nurse told me that the doctor had not prescribed anything. I asked for Panados. A few hours later I received an injection, the doctor had in fact prescribed something.  At 06h00, the doctor that assisted me the night before came to check on me. When I questioned her about the events of the previous evening she could not answer me at all. I wanted to leave the hospital and the nurses declined this request. I waited to speak to the doctor on duty – who had just done another emergency caesarean. I asked him what happened in my case and he informed me that there were many complications with my delivery and they were not equipped with decent medical equipment or trained personnel to deal with these situations. The theater is being renovated and the only one available to them is not up to standard to perform operations in, but they did in any case if they saw they might loose a mother or baby. Why was this not an option for me? How can the Ministry authorise this renovation and not leave a decent alternative, we are talking about people’s lives. I lost my baby because of the incompetence of the nursing staff, inadequate equipment and a hospital that does not have a fully functional theater. The mother who had an emergency operation Sunday morning also lost her baby Monday morning. Again it was because they delayed their decision to perform a caesarean. It is shocking that a hospital is run by people who are not competent to do the work, who lack empathy and just do what they like and have no respect for patients or their fellow human beings. I trust the death of my baby and that of the mother who was operated on Sunday, 28 October are evidence enough that Swakopmund State Hospital’s maternity ward needs a drastic shake up. I would like you to investigate this matter and bring changes that will save lives and prevent the killing of innocent babies in the hospital due to the reasons given above.

Grieving mother

Political tolerance paramount in a democracy

THE Namibian Police must be commended for declaring an impartial approach and more so that it will not condone political violence as political tension heightens between the ruling Swapo Party and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP). The Swapo-RDP dogfight has heightened following the conclusion of the recent 4th Congress of the ruling party and is becoming dirtier and more damaging by the day. Clashes between the supporters of the two rival parties reported at Walvis Bay and Okongo, in the Ohangwena Region, have prompted the police to intervene.The highest decision making body of the police, the Namibian Police Senior Management, recently expressed concern at the volatile political climate, which it said threatened to distabilise the country. Name calling and insults being hurled at the opposing party leaders and members are reasons for concern and violence is likely to intensify in those areas where dissident views are regarded as taboo. The police top management has ruled that political intolerance will not be tolerated and urged members of the police force to be impartial when dealing with political clashes. While underlining the sensitivity of the political development in the country, the Namibian Police Senior Management has publicly urged all Namibians to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and avoid elements that may threaten the internal security of the country or create instability. The current political intolerance is reminiscent of post-independent Namibia when Swapo supporters lived in fear because of the political intimidation they endured at the hands of the then apartheid South Africa-sponsored Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA). It is regrettable if we have to revert to post-apartheid politics because we should have gained political maturity by now, more than 17 years after independence. Namibia is a democracy and the democratic rights of citizens are enshrined in the Constitution. Every citizen has the right to belong to any political party of his or her choice. To turn against those who resign from a certain party to join another party can only go as far as exposing the ignorance of those who speak or act against such moves. Political tolerance is paramount to a functional democracy and therefore should be promoted. It is high time that the colonial cobwebs of the past were shaken off our thinking. Recently Hifikepunye Pohamba also called on Namibians to stop dwelling on the evils of the past and move on with the development of the country. It was also refreshing to hear the President assure the nation that his government would ensure that the judiciary remained independent despite calls from some sectors, including from with in the ruling party, that government should tighten its grip on the judges.

Music Awards go hullabalaoo

Let me calm down my anger and take a deep breath so that I can start stressing how disgusted I am by this year’s Sanlam awards. Firstly, individuals’ selfishness and egos are harming the ever-booming Namibian music industry.  Can someone please tell me what The Dogg has done to deserve the Artist of the Year Award? To be honest, he rarely performed eight times and only paid school fees for one kid compared to an artist like Stanley who had more than 15 performances and donated money to an orphanage in Walvis Bay.

The Dogg – You Can’t Ignore!

M’shasho is right, nobody can ignore The Dogg, especially after his lowlife behaviour at the Sanlam/NBC Music Awards!!   Here’s the story - A group of ladies were taking a smoke break outside the hotel…a die-hard GMP fan simply shouted “GMP for life” and The Dogg lost his temper, marbles and all inhibitions at the same time. Without any hesitation he threw a bottle of some alcoholic beverage that he’d been thirstily guzzling down, and just missed his target. Imagine if that bottle had hit the GMP fan?