…Aupindi talks economy, Swapo and the future
By Business Reporter
CEO of Hydrocarb Corporation, a UAE and USA based oil and gas corporation, Dr Tobie Aupindi is also global mediator and director of a major global fund which finances various governments in furthering their Economic Development Plans globally and a bona fide SWAPO member took time to speak to Confidente about various issues tied to the local economic landscape.
Can President Hage Geingob be blamed for economic woes?
Citizens have the constitutional right to air their views on things that concern them. However, when you blame the President on a particular issue, you must have substance, an alternative view and a solution and not just to blame the person without an alternative. But blaming the current economic condition on President Geingob is not fair. The global economic condition has been in free fall since 2008 with the collapse of the global markets. Since then the world has experienced relative to moderate growth. But no substantive growth was experienced. Economies like the USA, China, UK and others have only since experienced minor growth. Others such as Greece, Spain, Italy, actually had it rough. The collapse of commodity prices has further worsened economies like Namibia as they took a knock on their export products. But Namibia is actually doing relatively well compared to regional economies like Angola, DRC, and others. The collapse in the oil price has played an important role in driving a further recession. So in a very volatile economic condition, President Geingob has actually done well in driving policies that will ensure financial stabilities, fiscal responsibility, while ensuring future growth. Further, he has devised the Harambee targeted intervention plan of implementation framework to accelerate economic growth and the attainment of Vision 2030. So before blaming the President, one must separate fact from fiction. The whole world is on thin ice. But most importantly, it falls on all of us to work hard to support him in his quest for economic growth.
Is Namibia broke in your own view?
Namibia is a wonderful country with abundant natural resources. What Namibia is experiencing is not unique to Namibia alone. It is a global trend as a matter of global economic instability and recession. Being broke is further from the truth. However, the general economic strategy is that in good times, economies are stable and in times of recession like now, e c on o mies borrow to finance their growth and shortfalls. It does not mean that the country is broke. I have dealt with various economies in Europe, Middle East and Africa, where we financed their EDPs. So there is no need to fear at all, this is a sustainable process and Namibia will emerge economically stronger.
Your view on the President’s size of Cabinet…
Again I like to give solutions rather than blaming the President for any policy decision he makes. The question is not whether the Cabinet is big, but whether it works. The President was given a mandate by SWAPO and the Namibian people. He employed the resources at his disposal to help him fulfill that mandate. So let’s give him that chance. It is important for those leading the various sectors of our economy to work hard by providing the necessary leadership and inspiration through innovation, change management and new strategic frameworks that will match or better the global level in order to grow our economy.
What about his allegedly use of expensive hotels abroad?
New York or Paris is not Windhoek. Sometimes we just talk without knowing the other side. Do you think that a hotel bill is going to make Namibia broke? Again these are the pundits with nothing serious to talk about or do not have information on how presidents travel and live. In my current line of work, I meet many presidents of different countries. Many of the global cities are demarcated into security zones based on the security risk profiles. Therefore when a Head of State is travelling to that country there is little choice they have in where they will be staying in that country. It is for the host country to provide maximum security to that Head of State including them making decision on where the President stays. Sometimes, I read online about the complaints against the President’s hotels but he has little to do with where he stays. It has to do with the security of the President as outlined by the host country. The question is not what is being paid but what the country will lose if we don’t spend that money.
What are your views on alleged tribalism in Swapo?
Swapo is the only home I know. I grew up in Swapo. I was brought up in exile in Swapo’s refugee camps in Lubango, N’dalatando, Kwanza-sul and Loudima amongst others. Swapo was never tribal in exile. We focused on Swapo’s motto of ‘One Namibia, One Nation’. The Namibian men, women and children who sacrificed their lives under Swapo to liberate Namibia did so without regard to any tribal connectivity. As a child I met people like Peter Nanyemba and Moses Garoeb, unlike those who only read about them, and they never stood for t r ibal ism. For them it was a voluntary mission
of sacrifice so that future generations can live in a just, free and sovereign Namibia. That unity of purpose was the reason why Swapo succeeded in liberating Namibia. So those uttering signs of tribalism today are certainly misguided and misplaced. Some people are calling Dr Hage Geingob a ‘Kwangara’ behind closed doors. Where were they when he sacrificed his youth to fight for the liberation of Namibia?! Where were they when he brought the Swapo flag to Namibia amidst fear of being assassinated? Where were they when he chaired Swapo’s first ever election victory? Where were they when he chaired the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution of Namibia and he went on to become the first Prime Minister of the Republic at a very difficult and sensitive time in our history? Some people are in Swapo but do not know or even understand the political programme and principle of what it is to be a Swapo member. But my call to Swapo members is that Namibia is for all Namibians irrespective of colour or origin. Gone are days when we were defined by the colour of our skins or ethnic background by the colonisers. Tribalism is a desperation of intellectual bankruptcy and we must reject it with all the contempt it deserves. As Namibians we must work together to grow our economy and lift our people out of poverty. The global economy is very huge and presents a lot of opportunities for economic growth. These are the issues we should be focusing on.
Should President Geingob be elected the President of SWAPO in the upcoming congress?
I believe despite some rumors that there will be a challenge to the presidency; Swapo is a strong and mature party. Our State and Swapo President has done well in the face of global challenges and sometimes systematically being undermined, I expect the Congress to confirm him unopposed as the flag bearer for Swapo for the next five years. The contest may take place in other positions below the presidency, but as customary, leadership in Swapo is based on being called upon and not an ambitious self-gratification and self-imposition.
How does the future of Namibia look like?
The signs of global economic recovery are there. Namibia is fortunate enough to have a strong foundation for future economic growth. Many countries around the world and Africa do not have proper governance structures. They are actually failed states. We must just become innovative and provide economic solutions to our problems in order to develop our country. We must expose the youth so that they take advantage of the new global means of production such as ITC, engineering and science.
What are your prospects of taking a job in Namibia?
Others say these things to get jobs or tenders. I serve on international boards of global companies on merit. I say this with a conviction that Swapo does not owe me anything. I don’t have a single tender in Namibia or position on boards in Namibia because Swapo prepared me to be strong and to be in an unprecedented position academically and globally exposed, where no one can hire me or fire me. I am therefore independent. I am my own man and a master of my own destiny. The future is really spectacular.
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