ELECTION campaign material recently donated to the Swapo Party by a welfare association consisting of foreign owned companies operating in Oshikango is causing controversy within opposition party ranks.
At the centre of the controversy is Fatima Plastic Pty Ltd, a company allegedly accused of donating materials valued at N$2.5 million to the ruling party shortly after soliciting a N$3 million dollar loan from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) through its business partner, Oshikango Plastics.
Members of opposition parties privy to information regarding the donation accused Fatima Plastics of trying to buy favours with the ruling party.
“This is the same company that was financed by the Development Bank of Namibia not too long ago, yet today they have millions of dollars to give away. One has to wonder what the really motive behind this multi-million dollar donation is,” said an irate member from one of the opposition party.
In an invitation letter to the media, Swapo Party Regional Coordinator in the Ohangwena Region, Nestor Shuukwanyama writes: “The letter serves to inform you that His Excellency, the President of SWAPO party and of the Republic of Namibia Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, will receive the election materials from Fatima Manufacturing Company.”
The letter, dated 10 September 2009, goes on to say that “the value of the election material is 2.5 million”.
Although the figure was quoted in a daily newspaper, the management of Fatima Plastics has so far strongly denied allegations that the election campaign materials handed over to President Hifikepunye Pohamba last week Monday are valued at N$2, 5 million.
They have also denied that the donation was solely made by Fatima Plastics, saying the Pakistan Oshikango Welfare Association, that donated the materials, consists of 11 Pakistani-owned companies such as Impax Motors, Hina Motors, Wawa Motors, Ozan Trading, JP Nismo, Luna Motors, South Pacific Auto, Sahara Trading, Malik Motors and Fatima Plastics.
During the handing over ceremony at Eenhana, Managing Director of Fatima Plastics and Chairperson of the Pakistan Oshikango Welfare Association, Muhammed Saeed, said his association has decided to support the Swapo party during the campaign for the upcoming elections, as it is the only party with the long-term vision that will enable the country to realise Vision 2030 and to undertake the challenges facing the business community.
“There is peace, there is law and order, there is respect for foreign investors and there is a lot of business opportunities for the business people under the Swapo government,” said Saeed.
The company was approached by Pohamba’s son and Ondobe constituency councillor Mandume Pohamba for a donation.
Saeed, currently in Europe, referred all queries to his General Manager.
General Manager Tanweer Akram said he doesn’t know why it was reported that the donation was well into the million dollar figure, as the actual amount for the materials is less than a quarter of the quoted amount.
“I don’t know where they got the N$2.5 million, because the materials were very cheap. The amount of the materials was in the 100,000 mark, but perhaps the prices were compared to prices in Namibia. The truth is that the materials were bought in Pakistan, and things are very cheap in Pakistan.”
“We (Fatima Plastic) pledged our share for the donation, and that amount is not more than N$3,000,” said Akram
Some 50,000 Swapo flags, 80,000 stickers of different sizes, 5,040 T-shirts, 10,000 keyrings, 15,000 badges, 10,000 posters and 1,000 flexboards were given to Pohamba to boost the ruling party’s campaign prior to the November 27 to 28 presidential and national elections.
When called to clear up the confusion of the company that actually donated the materials, Shuukwanyama said the invitation letter merely mentioned Fatima Plastics because the Chairperson of the association that donated the materials, Saeed, is from Fatima Plastics.
“No, no, no, the donation was given by the Pakistan Association in Oshikango. I said the donation was from Fatima because the chairperson of that association is the leader of Fatima,” said Shuukwanyama.